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Ca of a carpenter (an 'expert carpenter' translates Lattimore). 77. Cf. Snell, Ausdriicle,e p. 50.
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Such events may reside in him, they may also enter from the outside. Like every other object man is an exchange station of influences rather than a unique source of action, an 'I' (Descartes' 'cogito' has no point of attack in this world, and his argument cannot even start). There is a great similarity between this view and Mach's cosmology except that the elements of the archaic world are recognizable physical and mental shapes and events while Mach's elements are more abstract, they are as yet unknown aims of research, not its objea. In sum, the representational units of the archaic world view admit of a realistic interpretation, they express a coherent ontology, and Whorfs observations apply. At this point I interrupt my argument in order to make some comments which connect the preceding observations with the problems of scientific method. 1 . It may be objected that foreshortenings and other indications of perspective are such obvious features of our perceptual world that they cannot have been absent from the perceptual world of the Ancients. The archaic manner of presentation is therefore incom plete, and its realistic interpretation incorrect. Reply: Foreshortenings are not an obvious feature of our percep tual world unless special attention is drawn to them (in an age of photography and film this is rather frequently the case). Unless we are professional photographers, film-makers, painters we perceive things, not aspeas. Moving swiftly among complex objects we notice much less change than a perception of aspects would permit. Aspects, foreshortenings, if they enter our consciousness at all, are usually suppressed just as after-images are suppressed when the appropriate stage of perceptual development is completed 78 and they are noticed in special situations only. 79 In ancient Greece such special situations arose in the theatre, for the first-row viewers of the impressive productions of Aeschylus and Agatharchos, and there is indeed a school that ascribes to the theatre a decisive influence on the development of perspective. 80 Besides, why should the perceptual world of the ancient Greeks coincide with ours? It needs more argument than reference to a non-existent form of perception to consolidate the objection.
78. Cf. footnote 1 2fT and text of the present chapter. 79. Cf. footnote 1 3. 80. Cf. Part II of Hedwig Kenner, Das Theater und der Realismus in der Griechischen Kunst, Vienna, 1 954, especially pp. 1 2 1 f.
AGAINST M ETHOD
2. The procedure used for establishing the peculiarities of the archaic cosmology has much in common with the method of an anthropologist who examines the world-view of an association of tribes. The differences are due to the scarcity of the evidence and to the particular circumstances of its origin (written sources; works of art; no personal contact) . Let us take a closer look at this procedure! An anthropologist trying to discover the cosmology of his chosen tribe and the way in which it is mirrored in language, in the arts, in daily life, first learns the language and the basic social habits; he inquires how they are related to other activities, including such p_rima facie unimportant activities as milking cows and cooking meals; 81 he tries to identify key ideas. 82 His attention to minutiae is not the result of a misguided urge for completeness but of the realization that what looks insignificant to one way of thinking (and perceiving) may play a most important role in another. (The differences between the paper-and-pencil operations of a Lorentzian and those of an Einsteinian are often minute, if discernible at all; yet they reflect a major clash of ideologies.) Having found the key ideas the anthropologist tries to understand them. This he does in the same way in which he originally gained an understanding of his own language, including the language of the special profession that provides him with an income. He internalizes the ideas so that their connections are firmly engraved in his memory and his reactions, and can be produced at will. 'The native society has to be in the anthropologist himself and not merely in his notebooks if he is to understand it.' 83 This process must be kept free from external interference. For example, the researcher must not try to get a better hold on the ideas of the tribe by likening them to ideas he already knows, or finds more comprehensible or more precise. On no account must he attempt a 'logical reconstruction'. Such a procedure would tie him to the known, or to what is preferred by certain groups, and would forever prevent him from grasping the unknown world view he is examining. Having completed his study, the anthropologist carries within himself both the native society and his own background, and he may now start comparing the two. The comparison decides whether the native way of thinking can be reproduced in European tenns (provided there is a unique set of' European terms'), or whether it has a 'logic' of its own, not found in any Western language. In the course 8 1 . Evans-Pritchard, SocialAnthropology, New York, 1 965, p. 80. 82. ibid., p. 80. 83. ibid., p. 82.
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of the comparison the anthropologist may rephrase certain native ideas in English. This does not mean that English as spoken independently ofthe comparison already contains native ideas. It means that languages can be bent in many directions and that understanding does not depend on any particular set of rules. 3. The examination of key ideas passes through various stages, none of which leads to a complete clarification. Here the researcher must exercise firm control over his urge for instant clarity and logical perfection. He must never try to make a concept clearer than is suggested by the material (except as a temporary aid for further research). It is this material and not his logical intuition that determines the content of the concepts. To take an example. The Nuer, a Nilotic tribe which has been examined by Evans-Pritchard, have some interesting spatio-temporal concepts. 84 The researcher who is not too familiar with Nuer thought will find the concepts 'unclear and insufficiently precise'. To improve matters he might try explicating them, using modem logical notions. That might create clear concepts, but they would no longer be Nuer concepts. If, on the other hand, he wants to get concepts which are both clear and Nuer, then he must keep his key notions vague and incomplete until the right information comes along, i.e. until field study turns up the missing elements which, taken by themselves, are just as unclear as the elements he has already found. Each item of information is a building block of understanding, which means that it has to be clarified by the discovery of further blocks from the language and ideology of the tribe rather than by premature definitions. Statements such as '. . . the Nuer . . . cannot speak of time as though it was something actual, which passes, can be waited for, can be saved, and so forth. I do not think that they ever experience the same feeling of fighting against time, or of having to co-ordinate activities with an abstract passage of time, because their points of reference are mainly the activities themselves, which are generally of a leisurely character . . '8 5 are either building blocks - in this case their own content is incomplete and not fully understood or they are preliminary attempts to anticipate the arrangement of the totality of all blocks. They must then be tested, and elucidated by the discovery of further blocks rather than by logical clarifications (a child learns the meaning of a word not by logical clarification but by .
84. Evans- Pritchard, The Nuer, Oxford, 1 940, Part III; cf. also the brief account in Socia/Anthropology, pp. 102fT. 85. The Nuer, p. 1 03.
realizing how it goes together with things and other words). Lack of clarity of any particular anthropological statement reflects the scarcity of the material rather than the vagueness of the logical intuitions of the anthropologist, or of his tribe. 4. Exactly the same remarks apply to any attempt to explore important modem notions such as the notion ofincommensurability. Within the sciences incommensurability is closely connected with meaning. A study of incommensurability in the sciences will therefore produce statements that contain meaning-terms - but these terms will be only incompletely understood, just as the term 'time' is incompletely understood in the quotation of the preceding paragraph. Thus the remark that such statements should be made only after production of a clear theory of meaning86 is as sensible as the remark that statements about Nuer time, which are the material that leads to an understanding of Nuer time, should be written down only after such an understanding has been achieved. 5. Logicians are liable to object. They point out that an examina tion of meanings and of the relation between terms is the task of logic, not of anthropology. Now by 'logic' one may mean at least two different things. 'Logic' may mean the study of, or results ofthe study of, the structures inherent in a certain type of discourse. And it may mean a particular logical system, or set of systems. A study of the first kind belongs to anthropology. For in order to see, for example, whether AB v AB = A is part of the 'logic of quantum theory' we shall have to study quantum theory. And as quantum theory is not a divine emanation but a human product, we shall have to study it in the form in which human products usually are available, that is, we shall have to study historical records - textbooks, original papers, records of meetings and private conversations, letters, and the like. (In the case of quantum theory our position is improved by the fact that the tribe of quantum theoreticians has not yet died out. Thus we can supplement historical study with anthropological field work such as the work of Kuhn and his collaborators. 87)
86. Achinstein, Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy ofScience, Vol. 4, Minneapolis, 1970, p. 224, says that 'Feyerabend owe[s] us a theory of meaning' and Hempel is prepared to accept incommensurability only after the notion of meaning involved in it has been made clear, op. cit., p. 1 56. 87. Report in T.S. Kuhn, J.L. Heilbron, P. Forman and L. Allen, Sources for the History ofQuantum Physics, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 1 967. The material assembled under the programme described in this report can be consulted at various universities, the University of California in Berkeley among them.
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It is to be admitted that these records do not, by themselves, produce a unique solution to our problems. But who has ever assumed that they do? Historical records do not produce a unique sol ution for historical problems either, and yet nobody suggests that they be neglected. There is no doubt that the records are necessary for a logical study in the sense examined now. The question is how they should be used. We want to discover the structure of the field of discourse, of which the records give an incomplete account. We want to learn about it without changing it in any way. In our example we are not interested in whether a peifeaed quantum mechanics of the future employs AB v AB = A or whether an irrvention of our own, whether a little bit of 'reconstruction' which changes the theory so that it conforms to some preconceived principles of modem logic and readily provides the answer employs that principle. We want to know whether quantum theory as aaually praaised by physicists employs the principle. For it is the work of the physicists and not the work of the reconstructionists we want to examine. And this work may well be full of contradictions and lacunae. Its 'logic' (in the sense in which I am now using the term) may well be 'illogical' when judged from the point of view of a particular system of formal logic. Putting the question in this way we realize that it may not admit of any answer. There may not exist a single theory, one 'quantum theory', that is used in the same way by all physicists. The difference between Bohr, Dirac, Feynman and von Neumann suggests that this is more than a distant possibility. To test the possibility, i.e. to either eliminate it or to give it shape, we must examine concrete cases. Such an examination of concrete cases may then lead to the result that quantum theoreticians differ from each other as widely as do Catholics and the various types of Protestants: they may use the same texts (though even that is doubtful - just compare Dirac with von Neumann), but they sure are doing different things with them. The need for anthropological case studies in a field that initially seemed to be dominated by a single myth, always the same, always used in the same manner, indicates that our common knowledge of science may be severely defective. It may be entirely mistaken (some mistakes have been hinted at in the preceding chapters). In these circumstances, the only safe way is to confess ignorance, to abandon reconstructions, and to start studying science from scratch. We must approach science like an anthropologist approaches the mental contortions of the medicine-men ofa newly discovered association of tribes. And we must be prepared for the discovery that these contortions are wildly illogical (when judged from the point ofview of
A G A I NS T METHOD
a particular system of formal logic) and have to be wildly illogical in order to function as they do. 6. Only a few philosophers of science interpret 'logic' in this sense, however. Only few philosophers are prepared to concede that the basic structures that underlie some newly discovered idiom might differ radically from the basic structures of the more familiar systems of formal logic and absolutely nobody is ready to admit that this might be true of science as well. Most of the time the 'logic' (in the sense discussed so far) of a particular language, or of a theory, is immediately identified with the features of a particular logical system without considering the need for an inquiry concerning the adequacy 88 of such an identification. Professor Giedymin, for example, means by 'logic' a favourite system of his which is fairly comprehensive, but by no means all-embracing. (For example, it does not contain, nor could it be used to formulate, Hegel's ideas. And there have been mathematicians who have doubted that it can be used for expressing informal mathematics.) A logical study of science as Giedymin and his fellow logicians understand it is a study of sets of formulae of this system, of their structure, the properties of their ultimate con stituents (intension, extension, etc.), of their consequences and of possible models. If this study does not repeat the features an anthropologist has found in, say, science then this either shows that science has some faults, or that the anthropologist does not know any logic. It does not make the slightest difference to the logician in this second sense that his formulae do not look like scientific statements, that they are not used like scientific statements and that science could not possibly grow in the simple ways his brain is capable of understanding (and therefore regards as the only permissible ways). He either does not notice the discrepancy or he regards it as being due to imperfections that cannot enter a satisfactory account. Not once does it occur to him that the 'imperfections' might have a positive funaion, and that scientific progress might be impossible once they are removed. For him science is axiomatics plus model theory plus correspondence rules plus observation language. Such a procedure assumes (without noticing that there is an assumption involved) that an anthropological study which familiar izes us with the overt and the hidden classifications of science has been completed, and that it has decided in favour of the axiomatic (etc., etc.) approach. No such study has ever been carried out. And the bits and pieces of field work available today, mainly as the result of 88. British Journal for the Philosophy of Scimce, August 1 970, pp. 257fT and February 1 97 1 , pp. 39fT.
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the work of Hanson, Kuhn, Lakatos and the numerous historians who remained untouched by positivistic prejudices, show that the logician 's approach removes not just some inessential embroideries ofscience, but those very features which make scientific progress and thereby science possible. 7. The discussions of meaning I have alluded to are another illustration of the deficiencies of the logician's approach. For Giedymin, this term and its derivatives, such as the term 'incommen surability', are 'unclear and insufficiently precise'. I agree. Giedymin wants to make the terms clearer, he wants to understand them better. Again agreement. He tries to obtain the clarity he feels is lacking by explication in terms of a particular kind of formal logic and of the double language model, restricting the discussion to 'intension' and 'extension' as explained in the chosen logic. It is here that the disagreement starts. For the question is not how 'meaning' and 'incommensurability' occur within a particular logical system. The question is what role they play in (actual, i.e. non-reconstructed) science. Clarification must come from a more detailed study of this role, and lacunae must be filled with the results of such study. And as the filling takes time the key terms will be 'unclear and insufficiently precise' for years and perhaps decades. (See also items 3 and 4 above.) 8. Logicians and philosophers of science do not see the situation in this way. Being both unwilling and unable to carry out an informal discussion, they demand that the main terms of the discussion be 'clarified'. And to 'clarify' the terms of a discussion does not mean to study the additional and as yet unknown properties of the domain in question which one needs to make them fully understood, it means to fill them with existing notions from the entirely different domain of logic and common sense, preferably observational ideas, until they sound common themselves, and to take care that the process of filling obeys the accepted laws of logic. The discussion is permitted to proceed only after its initial steps have been modified in this manner. So the course of an investigation is deflected into the narrow channels of things already understood and the possibility of fun damental conceptual discovery (or of fundamental conceptual change) is considerably reduced. Fundamental conceptual change, on the other hand, presupposes new world-views and new languages capable of expressing them. Now, building a new world-view, and a corresponding new language, is a process that takes time, in science as well as in meta-science. The terms of the new language become clear only when the process is fairly advanced, so that each single word is the centre of numerous lines connecting it with other words,
A GA I NST METHOD
sentences, bits of reasoning, gestures which sound absurd at first but which become perfectly reasonable once the connections are made. Arguments, theories, terms, points of view and debates can therefore be clarified in at least two different ways: (a) in the manner already described, which leads back to the familiar ideas and treats the new as a special case of things already understood, and (b) by incorporation into a language of the future, which means that one must learn to argue
with unexplained terms and to use sentencesfor which no clear rules ofusage are as yet available. Just as a child who starts using words without yet
understanding them, who adds more and more uncomprehended linguistic fragments to his playful activity, discovers the sense-giving principle only after he has been active in this way for a long time - the activity being a necessary presupposition of the final blossoming forth of sense - in the very same way the inventor of a new world-view (and the philosopher of science who tries to understand his procedure) must be able to talk nonsense until the amount of nonsense created by him and his friends is big enough to give sense to all its parts. There is again no better account of this process than the description which john Stuart Mill has left us of the vicissitudes ofhis education. Referring to the explanations which his father gave him on logical matters, he wrote: 'The explanations did not make the matter at all clear to me at the time; but they were not therefore useless; they remained as a nucleus for my observations and reflections to crystallise upon; the import of his general remarks being interpreted to me, by the particular instances which came under my notice afterwards.' 89 Building a new language (for understanding the world, or knowledge) is a process of exactly the same kind except that the initial 'nuclei' are not given, but must be invented. We see here how essential it is to learn talking in riddles, and how disastrous an effect the drive for instant clarity must have on our understanding. (In addition, such a drive betrays a rather narrow and barbaric mentality: 'To use words and phrases in an easy going way without scrutinizing them too curiously is not, in general, a mark of ill breeding; on the contrary, there is something low bred in being too precise . . . . All these remarks are rather trivial and can be illustrated
89. There is much more randomness in this process than a rationalist would ever permit, or suspect, or even notice. Cf. von Kleist, 'Uber die allmahliche Verfertigung der Gedanken beim Reden', inMeisttnPerke D�tscher Literaturkritik, ed. Hans Meyer, Stuttgart, 1962, pp. 741-7. Hegel had an inkling of the situation. Cf. K. Loewith andj. Riedel (eds), Htgel, Studimausgabe I. Frankfurt, 1 968, p. 54. For Mill cf. Chapter 1 1 , footnote 1 3 . 90 . Plato, Theaitetos, 184c. Cf. also I . Diiring, Aristoteles, Heidelberg, 1 966, p . 379, criticizing Aristotle's demand for instant precision.
by obvious examples. Classical logic arrived on the scene only when there was sufficient argumentative material (in mathematics, rhetoric, politics) to serve as a starting point and as a testing ground. Arithmetic developed without any clear understanding of the concept of number; such understanding arose only when there existed a sufficient amount of arithmetical 'facts' to give it substance. In the same way a proper theory of meaning (and of incommen surability) can arise only after a sufficient number of 'facts' has been assembled to make such a theory more than an exercise in concept pushing. This is the reason for the examples in the present section. 9. There is still another dogma to be considered before returning to the main narration. It is the dogma that all subjects, however assembled, quite automatically obey the laws of logic, or ought to obey the laws of logic. If this is so, then anthropological field work would seem to be superfluous. 'What is true in logic is true in psychology . . . in scientific method, and in the history of science,' writes Popper. 91 This dogmatic assertion is neither clear nor is it (in one of its main interpretations) true. To start with, assume that the expressions 'psychology', 'history of science', 'anthropology' refer to certain domains of facts and regularities (of nature, of perception, of the human mind, of society). Then the assertion is not clear as there is not a single subject - LOGIC - that underlies all these domains. There is Hegel, there is Brouwer, there are the many logical systems considered by modern constructivists. They offer not just different interpretations of one and the same bulk of logical 'facts', but different 'facts' altogether. And the assertion is not true as there exist legitimate scientific statements which violate simple logical rules. For example, there are statements which play an important role in established scientific disciplines and which are observationally adequate only if they are self-contradictory: fixate a moving pattern that has just come to a standstill, and you will see it move in the opposite direction, but without changing its position. The only phenomenologically adequate description is 'it moves, in space, but it does not change place' - and this description is self-contradictory. 92 9 1 . Objective Knowledge, Oxford, 1 972, p. 6. Anticipated e.g. by Comte, Course, 52° Le .-;on and, of course, Aristotle. 92. It has been objected (Ayer, G.E.L. Owen) that we are dealing with appearances, n?t with actual events, and that the correct description is 'it appears to move . . . .' But the dt fficulty remains. For ifwe introduce the 'appear', we must put it at the beginning ofthe sentence, which will read 'it appears that it moves and does not change place'. And as a�earances belong to the domain ofphenomenological psychology we have made our potnt, viz. that this domain contains self-inconsistent elements.
AGAI N S T M E T H O D
There are examples from geometry: 93 thus the enclosed figure (which need not appear in the same way to every person) is seen as an isosceles triangle whose base is not halved by the perpendicular. And there are examples with a b & b c & a � c as the only phenomenologically adequate description. 94 Moreover, there is not a single science, or other form oflife that is useful, progressive as well as in agreement with logical demands. Every science contains theories which are inconsistent both with facts and with other theories and which reveal contradictions when analysed in detail. Only a dogmatic belief in the principles of an allegedly uniform discipline 'Logic' will make us disregard this situation. And the objection that logical principles and principles of, say, arithmetic differ from empirical principles by not being accessible to the method of conjecture and refutations (or, for that matter, any other 'empirical' method) has been defused by more recent research in this field.95 Secondly, let us assume that the expressions 'psychology', 'anthro pology', 'history of science', 'physics' do not refer to facts and laws, but to certain methods of assembling facts including certain ways of connecting observation with theory and hypothesis. That is, let us consider the activity 'science' and its various subdivisions. Then we may lay down ideal demands of knowledge and knowledge acquisition, and we may try to construct a (social) machinery that obeys these demands. Almost all epistemologists and philosophers of science proceed in this way. Occasionally they succeed in finding a =
93. E. Rubin, 'Visual Figures Apparently Incompatible with Geometry', Aa.
Psychologica, VII, 1 950, pp. 365fT. Cf. also the drawings on pages 1 66-7. 94. E. Tranekjaer-Rasmussen, 'Perspectoid Distances', Acta Psychologica, XI,
1 955, p. 297. 95. Mainly by the work oflmre Lakatos, 'Proofs and Refutation', BritishJoumtll.for the Philosophy o[Science, 1962163.
machinery that might work in certain ideal conditions, but they never inquire, or even find it worth inquiring, whether the conditions are satisfied in this real world of ours. Such an inquiry, on the other hand, will have to explore the way in which scientists actually deal with their surroundings, it will have to examine the actual shape of their product, viz. 'knowledge', and the way in which this product changes as a result of decisions and actions in complex social and material conditions. In a word, such an inquiry will have to be anthropological. There is no way of predicting what an anthropological inquiry will bring to light. In the preceding chapters, which are rough sketches of an anthropological study of particular episodes, it has emerged that science is full of lacunae and contradictions, that ignorance, pigheadedness, reliance on prejudice, lying, far from impeding the forward march of knowledge may actually aid it and that the traditional virtues of precision, consistency, 'honesty', respect for facts, maximum knowledge under given circumstances, if practised with determination, may bring it to a standstill. It has also emerged that logical principles not only play a much smaller role in the (argumentative and non-argumentative) moves that advance science, but that the attempt to enforce them would seriously impede science. (One cannot say that von Neumann has advanced the quantum theory. But he certainly made the discussion of its basis more long winded and cumbersome. 96) Now a scientist engaged in a certain piece of research has not yet completed all the steps that lead to definite results. His future is still open. Will he follow the barren and illiterate logician who preaches to him about the virtues ofclarity, consistency, experimental support (or experimental falsification), tightness of argument, 'honesty', and so on, or will he imitate his predecessors in his own field who advanced by breaking most of the rules logicians want to lay on him? Will he rely on abstract injunctions or on the results of a study of concrete episodes? I think the answer is clear and with it the relevance of anthropological field work not just for the anthropologists but also for the members of the societies he examines. I now continue my narration and proceed to describing the transition from the paratactic universe of the archaic Greeks to the substance-appearance universe of their followers.
Besides, the imprecisions which he removes from the formalism now reappear the relation between theory and fact. Here the correspondence principle still reigns supreme. Cf. footnote 25 of Chapter 5. 10
A G AI N S T M E T H O D
The archaic cosmology (which from now on I shall call cosmology A� contains things, events, their parts; it does not contain appearances. 9 Complete knowledge ofan object is complete enumeration of its parts and peculiarities. Humans cannot have complete knowledge. There are too many things, too many events, too many situations (Iliad, 2. 488), and they can be close to only a few of them (Iliad, 2. 485). But although humans cannot have complete knowledge, they can have a sizeable amount of it. The wider their experience, the greater the number of adventures, of things seen, heard, read, the greater their knowledge. 98 The new cosmology (cosmology B) that arises in the 7th to 5th centuries BC distin�hes between much-knowing, JtOAUJ,ta6(f1, and true knowledge,99 and it warns against trustino§ 'custom born of manifold experience', £eo� JtOAUJtELQOV . 1 Such a distinction and such a warning make sense only in a world whose structure differs from the structure ofA. In one version which played a large role in the development of Western civilization and which underlies such problems as the problem of the existence oftheoretical entities and the problem of alienation the new events form what one might call a True World, while the events of everyday life are now appearances that are but its dim and misleading reflection. 101 The True World is simple and coherent, and it can be described in a uniform way. So can every act by which its elements are comprehended: a few abstract notions replace the numerous concepts that were used in cosmology A for describing how humans might be 'inserted' into their surroundings and for expressing the equally numerous types ofinformation thus gained. From now on there is only one important type of information, and that is: knowledge.
97. Snell, Ausdrikke, p. 28 (referring to Homer), speaks of a 'knowledge that proceeds from appearances and draws their multitude together in a unit which is then posited as their true essence'. This may apply to the Presocratics, it does not apply to Homer. In the case of Homer 'the world is comprehended as the sum ofthings, visible in space, and not as reason acting intensively' (ibid., p. 67, discussing Empedokles; cf. also the lines following the quotation for a further elaboration of the theme). 98. Snell, Die altm Griechm und Wir, p. 48. 99. Cf. Heraclitus, fr. 40 (Diels-Kranz). 100. Pannenides, fr. 7, 3. 'Here for the first time sense and reason are contrasted'; W.K. Guthrie, A History ofGreek Philosophy, Vol. II, Cambridge, 1 965, p. 25. I 0 I. This distinction is characteristic of certain mythological views as well. Homer thus differs both from the preceeding mythologies and from the succeeding philosophies. His point of view is of great originality. In the 20th century J .L. Austin has developed similar ideas. And he has criticized the development from Thales via Plato to the present essentialism. Cf. the first chapter ofSense andSensibilia. Chapter 3 of Farewell to Reason contains details.
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The conceptual totalitarianism that arises as a result of the slow arrival of world B has interesting consequences, not all of them de sirable. Situations which made sense when tied to a particular type ofcognition now become isolated, unreasonable, apparently inconsis tent with other situations: we have a 'chaos of appearances'. The 'chaos' is a direct consequence of the simplification of language that acco mpanies the belief in a True World. 1 02 Moreover, all the manifold abilities of the observers are now directed towards this True World, they are adapted to a uniform aim, shaped for one particular purpose, they become more similar to each other which means that humans become impoverished together with their language. They become impoverished at precisely the moment they discover an autonomous 'I' and proceed to what some have been pleased to call a 'more advanced notion of God' (allegedly found in Xenophanes), which is a notion of God lacking the rich variety of typically human features. 1 03 'Mental' events which before were treated in analo � with events of the body and which were experienced accordingly 1 become more 'subjective', they become modifications, actions, revelations ofa spontaneous soul: the distinction between appearance (first impression, mere opinion) and reality (true knowledge) spreads everywhere. Even the task of the artist now consists in arranging his shapes in such a manner that the underlying essence can be grasped with ease. In painting this leads to the development of what one can only call systematic methods for deceiving the eye: the archaic artist treats the surface on which he paints as a writer might treat a piece of papyrus; it is a real surface, it is supposed to be seen as a real surface (though attention is not always directed to it) and the marks he draws on it are comparable to the lines of a blueprint or the letters of a word. They are symbols that infonn the reader ofthe struaureofthe objea, ofits parts, of the way in which the parts are related to each other. The simple drawing overleaf, for example, may represent three paths meeting at a point. The artist using perspective on the other hand, regards the surface and the marks he puts on it as stimuli that trigger the illusion of an arrangement of three-dimensional objects. The illusion occurs because the human mind is capable of producing illusory experiences when properly stimulated. The drawing is now seen
1 02. Snell, Ausdriklee, pp. 80f; von Fritz, Philosophie und sprachlicher Ausdruck bti Demomt, Plalo undAristottles, Leipzig-Paris-London, 1938, p. I I . . . . in becoming the embodiment of cosmic justice Zeus lost his humanity. �ce Olympi anism in its moralized form tended to become a religion of fear . . .', I 03
ds, Greeks, p. 35. For Xenophanes cf. Chapter 2 of Farewell to Reason. 1 04. Snell, Discuvery, p. 69.
either as the corner o fa cube that extends towards the viewer, or as the corner ofa cube that points away from him (and is seen from below), or else as a plane floating above the surface of the paper carrying a two dimensional drawing of three paths meeting.
Combining this new way of seeing with the new concept of knowledge that has just been described, we obtain new entities, viz. physical objects as they are understood by most contemporary philosophers. To explain, let me again take the case of the oar. In the archaic view 'the oar' is a complex consisting ofparts some of which are objects, some situations, some events. It is possible to say 'the straight oar is broken' (not 'appears to be broken') just as it is possible to say 'swift-footed Achilles is walking slowly', for the elements are not set against each other. They are part of a paratactic aggregate. Just as a traveller explores all parts ofa strange country and describes them in a 'periegesis' that enumerates its peculiarities, one by one, in the same way the student of simple objects such as oars, boats, horses, people inserts himself into the 'major oar-situations', apprehends them in the appropriate way, and reports them in a list of properties, events, relations. And just as a detailed periegesis exhausts what can be said about a country, in the same way a detailed list exhausts what can be said about an object. 1 05 'Broken in water' belongs to the oar as does 'straight to the hand'; it is 'equally real' . In cosmology B, however, 'broken in water' is a 'semblance' that contradias what is suggested by the 'semblance' of straightness and 06 thus shows the basic untrustworthiness of all semblances. 1 The concept of an object has changed from the concept of an aggregate of equi-important perceptible parts to the concept of an imperceptible I 05. The idea that knowledge consists in lists reaches back far into the Sumerian past. Cf. von Soden, Leistung und Grmzen Sumerisch-Babylonischer Wissenschaft, new edn, Darmstadt, 1 965. The difference between Babylonian and Greek mathematics and astronomy lies precisely in this. The one develops methods for the presentation of what we today call 'phenomena' and which were interesting and relevant events in the sky, while the other tries to develop astronomy, 'while leaving the heavens alone' (Plato, Rep. , 530bf; Lgg., 81 8a). 1 06. Xenophanes, fr. 34.
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essence underlying a multitude of deceptive phenomena. (We may guess that the appearance of an object has changed in a similar way, that objects now look less 'flat' than before.) Considering these changes and peculiarities, it is plausible to assume that the comparison of A and B as interpreted by theparticipants (rather than as 'reconstructed' by logically well-trained but otherwise illiterate outsiders) will raise various problems. In the remainder of this chapter only some aspects of some of these problems will be discussed. Thus I shall barely mention the psychological changes that accompany the transition from A to B and which are not just a matter of conjecture, but can be established by independent research. Here is rich material for the detailed study of the role of frameworks (mental sets, languages, modes ofrepresentation) and the limits ofrationalism. To start with, cosmos A and cosmos B are built from different
The elements ofA are relatively independent parts ofobjects which enter into external relations. They participate in aggregates without changing their intrinsic properties. The 'nature' of a particular aggregate is determined by its parts and by the way in which the parts are related to each other. Enumerate theparts in theproper order, andyou have the objea. This applies to physical aggregates, to humans (minds and bodies), to animals, but it also applies to social aggregates such as the honour of a warrior. The elements of B fall into two classes: essences (objects) and appearances (of objects - what follows is true only of some rather streamlined versions of B). Objects (events, etc.) may again combine. They may form harmonious totalities where each part gives meaning to the whole and receives meaning from it (an extreme case is Parmenides where isolated parts are not only unrecognizable, but altogether unthinkable). Aspects properly combined do not produce objects, but psychological conditions for the apprehension ofphantoms which are but other aspects, and particularly misleading ones at that (they look so convincing). No enumeration ofaspeas is identical with the object (problem of induction). The transition from A to B thus introduces new entities and new relations between entities (this is seen very clearly in painting and statuary) . It also changes the concept and the self-experience of hu mans. An archaic individual is an assemblage oflimbs, connections, trunk, neck, head, 1 07 (s)he is a puppet set in motion by outside forces 1 07. 'To be precise, Homer does not even have any words for the arms and the legs; he speaks of hands, lower arms, upper arms, feet, calves, and thighs. Nor is there a comprehensive term for the trunk.' Snell, Disaroery, Chapter I , footnote 7.
A G AI N S T M E T H O D
such as enemies, social circumstances, feelings (which are described and perceived as objective agencies - see above): 1 08 'Man is an open target ofa eat many forces which impinge on him, and penetrate his 9 very core.' 0 He is an exchange station of material and spiritual, but always objective, causes. And this is not just a 'theoretical' idea, it is a social fact. Man is not only described in this way, he ispiau red in this way, and he feels himself to be constituted in this manner. He does not possess a central agency of action, a spontaneous 'I' that produces its own ideas, feelings, intentions, and differs from behaviour, social situations, 'mental' events of type A. Such an I is neither mentioned nor is it noticed. lt is nowhere to be found within A. But it plays a very decisive role within B. Indeed, it is not implausible to assume that some outstandin eculiarities of B such as aspects, semblances, ambiguity of feeling 1 enter the stage as a result of a sizeable increase of self
Now one might be inclined to explain the transition as follows: archaic man has a limited cosmology; he discovered some things, he missed others. His universe lacks important objects, his language lacks important concepts, his perception lacks important structures. Add the missing elements to cosmos A, the missing terms to language A, the missing structures to the perceptual world ofA, and you obtain cosmos B, language B, perception B. Some time ago I called the theory underlying such an explanation the 'hole theory' or the 'Swiss cheese theory' of language (and other means of representation). According to the hole theory every cosmology (every language, every mode of perception) has sizeable lacunae which can be filled, leaving everything else unchanged. The hole theory is beset by numerous difficulties. In the present case there is the difficulty that cosmos B does not contain a single element ofcosmos A. Neither common-sense terms, nor philosophical theories; neither painting and statuary, nor artistic conceptions; neither religion, nor theological speculation contain a single element of A once the transition to B has been completed. This is a historicalfact. 1 1 1 Is this I 08. 'Emotions do not spring spontaneously from man, but are bestowed on him by the gods,' ibid., p. 52. See also the account earlier in the present chapter. 1 09. ibid., p. 20. I I 0. Cf. Sappho's 'bitter-sweet Eros', ibid, p. 60. I l l . The fact is not easy to establish. Many presentations of A, including some very detailed and sophisticated ones, are infected by B-concepts. An example is quoted in footnote 97 to the present chapter. Here as elsewhere only the anthropological method can lead to knowledge that is more than a reflection of wishful thinking. A similar situation in the course ofindividual development is described in the text to fn. 1 2 of the present chapter.
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fact an accident, or has A some structural properties that prevent the co-existence of A-situations and B-situations? Let us see! I have already mentioned an example that might give us an inkling of reason as to why B does not have room for A-facts: the drawing a below may be the intersection of three paths as presented in accordance with the principles of A-pictures (which are visual lists). Perspective having been introduced (either as an objective method or as a mental set), it can no longer be seen in this manner. Instead oflines on paper we have the illusion of depth and a three-dimensional panorama, though of a rather simple kind. There is no way of incorporating the A-picture into the B-picture except as part of this illusion. But an illusion of a visual list is not a visual list.
The situation becomes more transparent when we turn to concepts. I have said above that the 'nature' of an object (=aggregate) in A is determined by the elements ofthe aggregate and the relation between the elements. One should add that this determination is 'closed' in the sense that the elements and their relations constitute the object; when they are given, then the object is given as well. For example, the 'elements' described by Odysseus in his speech in Iliad, 9.225ff constitute honour, grace, respect. A-concepts are thus very similar to notions such as 'checkmate' : given a certain arrangement of pieces on the board, there is no way of 'discovering' that the game can still be continued. Such a 'discovery' would not fill a gap, it would not add to our knowledge of possible chess positions, it would put an end to the game. And so would the 'discovery' of 'real meanings' behind other moves and other constellations. Precisely the same remarks apply to the 'discovery' ofan individual I that is different from faces, behaviour, objective 'mental states' of the type that occur in A, to the 'discovery' of a substance behind 'appearances' (formerly elements of A), or to the 'discovery' that honour may be lacking despite the presence of all its outer manifestations. A statement such as Heraclitus' 'you could not find the limits of the soul though you are travelling every way, so deep is its logos' (Diels, B 45) does not just add to cosmos A, it undercuts
AG A I N S T M E T H O D
the principles which are needed in the construction of A-type 'mental states' while Heraclitus' rejection of 1tOAUJ.ta6C'TI and Parmenides' rejection of an £eo� n:oA.tnELQOV undercuts rules that govern the construction of every single fact of A. An entire world-view, an entire universe of thought, speech, perception is dissolved. It is interesting to see how this process ofdissolving manifests itself in particular cases. In his long speech in Iliad, 9 .308fT, Achilles wants to say that honour may be absent even though all its outer manifestations are present. The terms of the language he uses are so intimately tied to definite social situations that he 'has no language to express his disillusionment. Yet he expresses it, and in a remarkable way. He does it by misusing the language he disposes of. He asks questions that cannot be answered and makes demands that cannot be met.'1 12 He acts in a most 'irrational' way. The same irrationality is found in the writings of all other early authors. Compared with A the Presocratics speak strangely indeed. So do the lyrical poets who explore the new possibilities of selfhood they have 'discovered'. Freed from the fetters of a well-constructed and unambiguous mode of expression and thinking, the elements of A lose their familiar function and start floating around aimlessly - the 'chaos of sensations' arises. Freed from firm and unambiguous social situations feelings become fleeting, ambivalent, contradictory: 'I love, and I love not; I rave, and I do not rave,' writes Anakreon}13 Freed from the rules of late geometric painting the artists produce strange mixtures of perspective and blueprint. 1 14 Separated from well-determined psychological sets and freed of their realistic import, concepts may now be used 'hypothetically' without any odium of lying and the arts may begin exploring possible worlds in an imaginative way.1 15 This is the same 'step back' which was earlier 1 1 2. A. Parry, 'The Language of Achilles', Trans. (5 Proc. Amer. Phil. Assoc. , 87, 1 956, p. 6. Cf. the discussion of the case in Farewell to Reason, Chapter 1 0. 1 1 3 . Diehi, Antho/ogia Lyrial, fr. 79. 1 1 4. Pfuhl, op. cit., cf. also J. White, Perspective in Ancimt Drawing and Paintint, London, 1965. 1 1 5. Plutarch reports the following story in his Lift ofSolon: 'When the company of Thespis began to exhibit tragedy, and its novelty was attracting the populace but had not yet got as far as public competitions, Solon, being fond of listening and learning and being rather given in his old age to leisure and amusement, and indeed to drinking parties and music, went to see Thespis act in his own play, as was the practice in ancient times. Solon approached him after the performance and asked him if he was not ashamed to tell so many lies to so many people. When Thespis said there was nothing dreadful in representing such works and actions in fun, Solon struck the ground violently with his walking stick: "If we applaud these things in fun," he said,
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seen to be a necessary presupposition of change and, possibly, progress 1 1 6 - only it now does not just discard observations, it discards some important standards ofrationality as well. Seen from A (and also from the point of view of some later ideologies) all these thinkers, poets, artists, are raving maniacs. Remember the circumstances which are responsible for this situation. We have a point of view (theory, framework, cosmos, mode of representation) whose elements (concepts, 'facts', pictures) are built up in accordance with certain principles of construction. The principles involve something like a 'closure': there are things that cannot be said, or 'discovered', without violating the principles (which does not mean contradicting them). Say the things, make the discovery, and the principles are suspended. Now take those constructive principles that underlie every element of the cosmos (of the theory), every fact (every concept). Let us call such principles universal principles of the theory in question. Suspending universal principles means suspending all facts and all concepts. Finally, let us call a discovery, or a statement, or an attitude incommensurable with the cosmos (the theory, the framework) if it suspends some of its universal principles. Heraclitus B 45 is incommensurable with the psychological part of A: it suspends the rules that are needed for constituting individuals and puts an end to all A- facts about individuals (phenomena corresponding to such facts may of course persist for a considerable time as not all conceptual changes lead to changes in perception and as there exist conceptual changes that never leave a trace in the appearances; however, such phenomena can no longer be described in the customary way and cannot therefore count as observations of the customary 'objective facts'). Note the tentative and vague nature of this explanation of 'incommensurable' and the absence of logical terminology. The reason for the vagueness has already been explained (items 3 and 4 above). The absence of logic is due to the fact that we deal with phenomena outside ofits domain. My purpose is to find terminology "we shall soon find ourselves honouring them in earnest".' The story seems historically impossible yet elucidates a widespread attitude (for this attitude cf. Chapter 8 of john Forsdyke Greece before Homer, New York, 1964). Solon himself seems to have been somewhat less impressed by traditional fonns of thought and he may have been one of the first dramatic actors (ofthe political variety): G. Else, The Origin and Early Form ofTragedy, Cambridge, 1 965, pp. 40fT. The opposite attitude, which reveals the secure and already somewhat conceited citizen ofB, is expressed by Simonides who answered the question why the Thessalians were not deceived by him by saying 'Because they are too stupid'. Plutarch, Deaud. poet., l SD. 1 1 6. Chapter I I , text to footnote 5.
A G A I N ST M E T H O D
for describing certain complex historical-anthropological phenomena which are only imperfectly understood rather than defining properties oflogical systems that are specified in detail. Terms, such as 'universal principles' and 'suspend', are supposed to summarize anthropological information much in the same way in which Evans Pritchard's account of Nuer time (text to footnote 85) summarizes the anthropological information at his disposal (cf. also the brief discussion in item 3 above). The vagueness of the explanation reflects the incompleteness and complexity of the material and invites articulation by further research. The explanation has to have some content - otherwise it would be useless. But it must not have too much content, or else we have to revise it every second line. Note, also, that by a 'principle' I do not simply mean a statement such as 'concepts apply when a finite number of conditions is satisfied', or 'knowledge is enumeration of discrete elements which form paratactic aggregates' but the grammatical habit corresponding to the statement. The two statements just quoted describe the habit of regarding an object as given when the list of its parts has been fully presented. This habit is suspended (though not contradicted) by the conjeaure that even the most complete list does not exhaust an object; it is also suspended (but again not contradicted) by any unceasing search for new aspects and new properties. (It is therefore not feasible to define 'incommensurability' by reference to state ments. 1 17) If the habit is suspended, then A -objects are suspended with it: one cannot examine A-objects by a method of conjectures and refutations that knows no end. How is the 'irrationality' of the transition period overcome? It is overcome in the usual way (cf. item 8 above), i.e. by the determined production of nonsense until the material produced is rich enough to permit the rebels to reveal, and everyone else to recognize, new universal principles. (Such revealing need not consist in writing the principles down in the form of clear and precise statements.) Madness turns into sanity provided it is sufficiently rich and sufficiently regular to function as the basis of a new world-view. And when that happens, then we have a new problem: how can the old view be compared with the new view? From what has been said it is obvious that we cannot compare the contents of A and B. A-facts and B-facts cannot be put side by side, not even in memory: presenting B-facts means suspending principles 1 1 7. This takes care of a criticism in footnote 63 of Shapere's article in Mind and Cosmos, Pittsburgh, 1 966. The classifications achieved by the principles are 'covert' in
the sense ofWhorf: cf. above. footnote 4 and text down to footnote 9.
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assumed in the construction of A-facts. All we can do is draw B pictures of A-facts in B, or introduce B-statements of A-facts into B. We cannot use A-statements of A-facts in B. Nor is it possible to translate language A into language B. This does not mean that we cannot discuss the two views - but the discussion will lead to sizeable changes of both views (and of the languages in which they are expressed). Now it seems to me that the relation between, say, classical mechanics (interpreted realistically) and quantum mechanics (inter preted in accordance with the views of Niels Bohr), or between Newtonian mechanics (interpreted realistically) and the general theory of relativity (also interpreted realistically) is in many respects similar to the relation between cosmology A and cosmology B. Thus every fact of Newton's mechanics presumes that shapes, masses, periods are changed only by physical interactions and this presumption is suspended by the theory of relativity. Similarly the quantum theory constitutes facts in accordance with the uncertainty relations which are suspended by the classical approach. At this point it is important to interpret the situation in a sensible manner of else scientific (cultural) change becomes an inexplicable miracle. The idea that comprehensive ways of thinking, acting, perceiving such as cosmology A (and, in a much more narrow domain, classical physics) and cosmology B (relativity or quantum mechanics) are closed frameworks with fixed rules creates an unbridgeable gulf between situations which, though different in surprising ways, are yet connected by arguments, allusions, borrowings, analogies, general principles of the kind explained in the text above. Logicians who confine the term 'argument' to chains of reasoning involving stable and precise concepts and who reconstruct theories and world-views using equally precise and unambiguous terms are forced to call such connections 'irrational' while their opponents can report the 'discovery' that science, that alleged stronghold of reason, often violates reason in a decisive way. Both are talking about chimaeras, not about science and culture as they really are. Things change when we use scientific practice or cultural reality and not logic as our informants, in other words, when we engage in sociological research, not in reconstruction. We then discover that scientific concepts (and concepts, shapes, percepts, styles in general) are ambiguous in the sense that decisive events can affect their appearance, their perceived implications and, with them, the 'logic' they obey. Achilles (see the text to footnote 1 1 2 above) 'misuses' the language he has at his disposal by asserting a difference between 'real' honour and its social manifestations. Asserting
A G A I N S T M ET H O D
differences i s not in conflict with view A ; for example, there i s a great difference between the knowledge, the power, the actions of the gods on the one side and the knowledge, the power and the actions of humans on the other. Assuming that honour is in the hands of gods who don't give a damn about the aspirations of humans devalues the social manifestations of honour, makes them secondary. The assumption fits well into the general outlines of view A but Achilles is the first to make it. Why? Because his anger, his suffering makes him see connections which, because of a widespread optimism, are not part of the general views about honour and do not contribute to its 'definition'. He seems to violate basic social rules but viewed with the anxiety caused by Agamemnon's actions such rules give way to a different idea that is regarded as being implicit in the existing material but as not having surfaced so far. Generalizing, we can say that concepts have potentialities over and above the usages that seem to define them; it is this feature that makes them capable of connecting entirely different conceptual systems. More about this in my (I promise !) last book, The Conquest ofAbundance.
Whorf speaks of 'Ideas', not of 'events' or of 'facts', and it is not always clear whether he would approve of my extension of his views. On the one hand he says that 'time, velocity, and matter are not essential to the construction of a consistent picture of the universe, 1 and he asserts that 'we cut up nature, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largel}: because we are partial to an agreement to organize it in this way', 2 which would seem to imply that widely different languages posit not just different ideas for the ordering of the same facts, but that they posit also different facts. The 'linguistic relativity principle' seems to point in the same direction. It says, 'in informal terms, that users of markedly different grammars are pointed by their grammars towards different types ofobservations and different evaluations of externally similar acts ofobservation, and hence are not equivalent observers, but must arrive at somewhat different views of the world'. 3 But the 'more formal statements'4 of the principle already contains a different element, for here we are told that 'all observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe, unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar, or can in some way be calibrated', 5 which can either mean that observers using widely different languages will posit differentfacts under the same physical circumstances in the same physical world, or it can mean that they will arrange similar facts in different ways. The second interpretation finds some support in the examples given, where different isolates of meaning in English and Shawnee are said to be 'used in reporting the same experience' 6 and where we read that 'languages classify items of experience differently'; 7 experience is 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Whorf, op. cit., p. 2 1 6. ibid., p. 2 1 3. ibid., p. 22 1 . ibid., p. 22 1 . ibid., p. 2 1 4, my italics. ibid., p. 208. ibid., p. 209.
A G A I N ST METHOD
regarded as a uniform reservoir o f facts which are classified differently by different languages. It finds further support in Whorfs description of the transition from the honvr-vacui account of barometric phenomena to the modern theory: 'If once these sentences [Why does water rise in a pump? Because Nature abhors a vacuum.] seemed satisfying to logic, but today seem idiosyncrasies of a particular jargon, the change did not come about because science has discovered new facts. Science has adopted new linguistic formulations of the old facts, and now that we have become at home in the new dialect, certain traits of the old one are no longer binding on us' . 8 However, I regard these more conservative statements as secondary when compared with the great influence ascribed to grammatical categories and especially to the more hidden 'rapport systems' of a language. 9
Whorf and those who follow him regard language as the main and perhaps as the only 'shaper of events' . That· is much too narrow a point of view. Animals have no language in the sense of Whorf, yet they do not live in a shapeless world. Planets, at least as conceived today, are not even alive, but they affect their surroundings and react to them in a lawful manner. In humans rituals, music, the arts, adaptive behaviour that occurs without the interposition of words make important contributions to the way in which the world appears and, to those living accordingly, is. In the sciences we have not only statements (the old idea that science is a system of statements has by now been thoroughly discredited), but observations, experimental equipment, an intuitive relation between observers and their equipment that has to be learned in a practical way and cannot be written down, the work of experimentalists which has much in common with the work of artists - what they want are not merely results, but results that emerge in a simple, compelling and aesthetically pleasing way - and so on. A concentration on language alone, or on 'texts', can easily lead into absurdity, as is shown by Austin and by the practice of deconstruction: on the one hand philosophers produce texts, like poets; on the other hand they take it for granted that their texts reveal a reality beyond the thoughts, impressions, memories, figures of speech, etc., etc. from which they arose. (Scientific realists to a certain extent share in this predicament.) Finally, some comments on what I think about incommensurability and how I arrived at the idea. 8. ibid ., p. 222. 9. ibid., pp. 68fT.
I think that incommensurability turns up when we sharpen our concepts in the manner demanded by the logical positivists and their offspring and that it undermines their ideas on explanation, reduction and progress. Incommensurability disappears when we use concepts as scientists use them, in an open, ambiguous and often counter intuitive manner. Incommensurability is a problem for philosophers not for scientists, though the latter may become psychologically confused by unusual things. I arrived at the phenomenon while studying the early literature on basic statements and by considering the possibility of perceptions radically different from our own. In my thesis 10 I examined the meaning of observational statements. I considered the idea that such statements describe 'what is given' and tried to identify this 'given'. Phenomenologically this did not seem to be possible; we notice objects, their properties, their relations, not 'the given'. It is of course true that we can give quick reports on the properties of everyday objects but this does not change them into non-objects but only shows that we have a special relation to them. Phenomenologically what is given consists of the same things which can also exist unobserved - it is not a new kind of object. Special arrangements such as the reduction screen introduce new con ditions, they do not reveal ingredients in objects we already know. Result: the given cannot be isolated by observation. The second possibility was to isolate it by logical means: what is given can be ascertained with certainty, hence I obtain the given contained in the table before me by removing from the statement 'there is a table' all the consequences that make future corrections possible. This shows that the given is the result of an unreasonable decision: untestable statements cannot serve as a basis for science. Following this argument I introduced the assumption that the meaning of observation statements depends on the nature of the objects described and, as this nature depends on the most advanced theories, on the content of these theories. Or as I formulated it in my first English paper on the topic: the interpretation of an observation language is determined by the theories which we use to explain what we observe, and it changes as soon as these theories change. 11 In a word: observation statements are not just theory-/aden (the views of Toulmin, Hanson and apparently also Kuhn) but fully theoretical and the distinction between observation statements ('protocol 1 0. Vienna, 1 95 1 - written after two years of extensive discussion in the Kraft Circle and supervised by Professor Victor Kraft of the University of Vienna. I I . 'An Attempt at a Realistic Interpretation of Experience', Proc. Arist. Soc. 1 958, reprinted in Philosophical Papers, Vol. I. The passage (in italics) is on p. 3 1 .
statements' in the terminology of the Vienna Circle) and theoretical statements is a pragmatic distinction, not a semantic distinction; there are no special 'observational meanings'. Thus in the same year as Hanson (Hanson's Pauerns o[Discuvery appeared in 1 958) and four years before Kuhn I formulated a thesis a weaker form of which became very popular later on. Moreover, my thesis not only was stronger than the thesis of theory-ladenness, it also came from a different source. For while Toulmin and Hanson were inspired by Wittgenstein's Philosophical lrrvestigations I started from and returned to ideas that had been developed in the Vienna Circle - and I said so. 12 Quine, whose philosophy shows close connections to the philosophy of the Vienna Circle, 1 3 also used a criterion of observability that is rather similar to mine. 14 Now when Feigl heard of these ideas he pointed out that interpreting observations in terms of the theories they are observations of makes nonsense of crucial experiments; for how can an experiment decide between two theories when its interpretation already depends on these theories and when the theories themselves have no common elements, such as a common observation language? In the paper just mentioned and in 'Explanation, Reduction and Empiricism', published in 1962, I took up the challenge. I first increased it by constructing cases where important terms of one theory cannot in any way be defined in another which, moreover, tries to do its job. My example which I found in Anneliese Maier's Die Vor/ii,ufer Galileis im 14. Jahrhundert was the relation of the terms 'impetus' and 'momentum'. I also developed a theory of test to answer the challenge. In 1962 I called theories such as those containing 'impetus' and 'momentum' incommensurable theories, said that only a special class of theories, so-called non-instantial theories could be (but need not be) incommensurable and added that successive incommensurable theories are related to each other by replacement, not by subsumption. The year 1962 is also that of Kuhn's great book - but Kuhn used a different approach to apply the same term to a similar (not an identical) situation. His approach was historical, while mine was abstract. In 1960 I started the studies described in chapters 8, 9 and 16. They revealed tht perception and experimentation obey laws of their
1 2. Philosophical Papers, Vol. I , pp. 49, 1 25. 13. Details in Dirk Koppelberg, Die Aufhebung der Analytischen Philosophie, Frankfurt, 1 987. 1 4. Philosophical Papers, Vol. I, pp. 1 7f.
own which cannot be reduced to theoretical assumptions and are therefore beyond the grasp of theory-bound epistemologies. I also joined Kuhn in demanding a historical as opposed to an epistemological grounding of science but I still differ from him by opposing the political autonomy of science. Apart from that our views (i.e. my published views and Kuhn's as yet unpublished recent philosophy) by now seem to be almost identical, 1 5 except that I have little sympathy for Kuhn's attempt to tie up history with philosophical or linguistic, but at any rate with theoretical ropes: a connection with theory just brings us back to what I at least want to escape from - the rigid, though chimaerical (deconstruction!) boundaries of a 'conceptual system' .
I S. Cf. my 'Realism and the Historicity o f Knowledge', The Journal ofPhilosophy, Voi. Ixxxvi, 1 989, pp. 353fT, esp. footnote 26 and the postscript to the present essay.
17 Neither science nor rationality are universal measures ofexcellence. They are particular traditions, unaware oftheir historical grounding.
So far I have tried to show that reason, at least in the form in which it is defended by logicians, philosophers and some scientists, does not fit science and could not have contributed to its growth. This is a good argument against those who admire science and are also slaves of reason. They must now make a choice. They can keep science; they can keep reason; they cannot keep both. But science is not sacrosanct. The mere fact that it exists, is admired, has results is not sufficient for making it a measure of excellence. Modem science arose from global objections against earlier views and rationalism itself, the idea that there are general rules and standards for conducting our affairs, affairs of knowledge included, arose from global objections to common sense (example: Xenophanes against Homer). Are we to refrain from engaging in those activities that gave rise to science and rationalism in the first place? Are we to rest content with their results? Are we to assume that everything that happened after Newton (or after Hilbert) is perfection? Or shall we admit that modem science may have basic faults and may be in need of global change? And, having made the admission, how shall we proceed? How shall we localize faults and carry out changes? Don't we need a measure that is independent of science and conflicts with it in order to prepare the change we want to bring about? And will not the rej ection of rules and standards that conflict with science forever prevent us from finding such a measure? On the other hand - have not some of the case studies shown that a blunt application of 'rational' procedures would not have given us a better science, or a better world but nothing at all? And how are we to judge the results themselves? Obviously there is no simple way of guiding a practice by rules or ofcriticizing standards of rationality by a practice. The problems I have sketched are old ones and much more
S E VE N T E E N
general than the problem of the relation between science and rationality. They occur whenever a rich, well-articulated and familiar practice - a practice of composing, of painting pictures, of stage p roduction, of selecting people for public office, of keeping order and punishing criminals, a practice of worship, of organizing society - is confronted by a practice of a different kind that can interact with it. The interactions and their results depend on historical conditions and vary from one case to the next. A powerful tribe invading a country may impose its laws and change the indigenous traditions by force only to be changed itself by the remnants of the subdued culture. A ruler may decide, for reasons of convenience, to use a popular and stabilizing religion as the basic ideology of his empire and may thereby contribute to the transformation both of his empire and of the religion chosen. An individual, repelled by the theatre of his time and in search of something better, may study foreign plays, ancient and modern theories of drama and, using the actors of a friendly company to put his ideas into practice, change the theatre of a whole nation. A group of painters, desirous of adding the reputation of being scientists to their already enormous reputation as skilled craftsmen, may introduce scientific ingredients such as geometry into painting and thereby create a new style and new problems for painters, sculptors, architects. An astronomer, critical of the difference between classical principles of astronomy and the existing practice and desirous to restore astronomy to its former splendour, may find a way to achieve his aim and so initiate the removal of the classical principles themselves. In all these cases we have a practice, or a tradition, we have certain influences upon it, emerging from another practice or tradition and we observe a change. The change may lead to a slight modification of the original practice, it may eliminate it, it may result in a tradition that barely resembles either of the interacting elements. Interactions such as those just described are accompanied by changing degrees of awareness on part of the participants. Copernicus knew very well what he wanted and so did Constantine the Great (I am now speaking about the initial impulse, not about the transformation that followed) . The intrusion of geometry into painting is less easily accounted for in terms of awareness. We have no idea why Giotto tried to achieve a compromise between the surface of the painting and the corporeality of the things painted, especially as pictures were not yet regarded as studies of a material reality. We can surmise that Brunelleschi arrived at his construction by a natural extension of the architects' method of representing three- dimensional objects and that his contacts with contemporary
scientists were not without consequence. It is still more difficult to understand the gradually rising claims of artisans to make contributions to the same kind of knowledge whose principles were explained at universities in very different terms. Here we have not a critical study of alternative traditions as we have in Copernicus, or in Constantine, but an impression of the uselessness of academic science when compared with the fascinating consequences of the journeys of Columbus, Magellan and their successors. There arose then the idea of an 'America of Knowledge', of an entirely new and as yet unforeseen continent of knowledge that could be discovered, just as the real America had been discovered: by a combination of skill and abstract study. Marxists have been fond of confounding insufficient information concerning the awareness that accompanies such processes with irrelevance and they have ascribed only a secondary role to individual consciousness. In this they were right - but not in the way they thought. For new ideas, though often necessary, were not sufficient for explaining the changes that now occurred and that depended also on the (often unknown and unrealized) circumstances under which the ideas were applied. Revolutions have transformed not only the practices their initiators wanted to change but the very principles by means of which, intentionally or unintentionally, they carried out the change. Now considering any interaction of traditions we may ask two kinds of questions which I shall call observer questions and participant questions respectively. Observer questions are concerned with the details of an interaction. They want to give a historical account of the interaction and, perhaps, formulate laws, or rules of thumb, that apply to all interactions. Hegel's triad: position, negation, synthesis (negation of the negation) is such a rule. Participant questions deal with the attitude the members of a practice or a tradition are supposed to take towards the (possible) intrusion of another. The observer asks: what happens and what is going to happen? The participant asks: what shall I do? Shall I support the interaction? Shall I oppose it? Or shall I simply forget about it? In the case of the Copernican Revolution, for example, the observer asks: what impact did Copernicus have on Wittenberg astronomers at about 1 560? How did they react to his work? Did they change some of their beliefs and if so, why? Did their change of opinion have an effect on other astronomers, or were they an isolated group, not taken seriously by the rest of the profession? The questions of a participant are: this is a strange book indeed -
should I take it seriously? Should I study 1t m detail or only superficially or should I simply continue as before? The main theses seem absurd at first sight - but, maybe, there is something in them? How shall I find out? And so on. It is clear that observer questions must take the questions of the participants into account and participants will also listen most carefully (if they are inclined that way, that is) to what observers have to say on the matter - but the intention is different in both cases. Observers want to know what is going on, participants what to do. An observer describes a life he does not lead (except accidentally), a participant wants to arrange his own life and asks himself what attitude to take towards the things that may influence it. Participants can be opportunists and act in a straightforward and practical way. In the late 1 6th century many princes became Protestants because this furthered their interests and some of their subjects became Protestants in order to be left in peace. When British colonial officials replaced the laws and habits of foreign tribes and cultures by their own 'civilized' laws the latter were often accepted because they were the laws of the king, or because one had no way to oppose them, and not because of any intrinsic excellence. The source of their power and 'validity' was clearly understood, both by the officials and by the more astute of their unfortunate subjects. In the sciences and especially in pure mathematics one often pursues a particular line of research not because it is regarded as intrinsically perfect, but because one wants to see where it leads. I shall call the philosophy underlying such an attitude of a participant a pragmatic
A pragmatic philosophy can flourish only if the traditions to be judged and the developments to be influenced are seen as temporary makeshifts and not as lasting constituents of thoughts and action. A participant with a pragmatic philosophy views practices and traditions much as a traveller views foreign countries. Each country has features he likes and things he abhors. In deciding to settle down a traveller will have to compare climate, landscape, language, temperament of the inhabitants, possibilities of change, privacy, looks of male and female population, theatre, opportunities for advancement, quality of vices and so on. He will also remember that his initial demands and expectations may not be very sensible and so permit the process of choice to affect and change his 'nature' as well which, after all is just another (and minor) practice or tradition entering the process. So a pragmatist must be both a participant and an observer even in those extreme cases where he decides to live in accordance with his momentary whims entirely.
A GA I N S T METHOD
Few individuals and groups are pragmatists in the sense just described and one can see why: it is very difficult to see one's own most cherished ideas in perspective, as parts of a changing and, perhaps, absurd tradition. Moreover this inability not only exists, it is also encouraged as an attitude proper to those engaged in the study and the improvement ofman, society, knowledge. Hardly any religion has ever presented itself just as something worth trying. The claim is much stronger: the religion is the truth, everything else is error and those who know it, understand it but still reject it are rotten to the core (or hopeless idiots). Two elements are contained in such a claim. First, one distinguishes between traditions, practices and other results of individual and/or collective human activity on the one side and a different domain that may act on the traditions without being one. Secondly, one explains the structure of this special domain in detail. Thus the word of God is powerful and must be obeyed not because the tradition that carries it has much force, but because it is outside all traditions and provides a way of improving them. The word of God can start a tradition, its meaning can be handed on from one generation to the next, but it is itself outside all traditions. The first element - the belief that some demands are 'objective' and tradition-independent - plays an important role in rationalism which is a secularized form of the belief in the power of the word of God. And this is how the opposition reason-practice obtains its polemical sting. For the two agencies are not seen as two practices which, while perhaps of unequal value, are yet both imperfect and changing human products but as one such product on the one side and lasting measures of excellence on the other. Early Greek rationalism already contains this version of the conflict. Let us examine what circumstances, assumptions, procedures - what features of the historical process - are responsible for it! To start with the traditions that oppose each other - Homeric common sense and the various forms of rationalism that arise in the 6th to 4th centuries - have different internal structures. 1 On the one hand we have complex ideas that cannot be easily explained, they 'work' but one does not know how, they are 'adequate', but one does not know why, they apply in special circumstances only, are rich in content but poor in similarities and, therefore, in deductive connections. On the other side there are relatively clear and simple concepts which, having just been introduced, reveal a good deal of I . For details see Chapter 1 6.
their structure and which can b e linked in many ways. They are poor in content, but rich in deductive connections. The difference becomes especially striking in the case of mathematics. In geometry, for example, we start with rules of thumb applying to physical objects and their shapes under a great variety of circumstances. Later on it can be pruved why a given rule applies to a given case - but the proofs make use of new entities that are nowhere found in nature. In antiquity the relation between the new entities and the familiar world of common sense gave rise to various theories. One of them which one might call Platonism assumes that the new entities are real while the entities of common sense are but their imperfect copies. Another theory, due to the Sophists, regards natural objects as real and the objects of mathematics (the objects of 'reason') as simpleminded and unrealistic images of them. These two theories were also applied to the difference between the new and fairly abstract idea of knowledge propagated by Plato (but found already before) and the common-sense knowledge of the time (Plato wisely uses a distorted image of the latter to give substance to the former). Again it was either said that there existed only one true knowledge and that human opinion was but a pale shadow ofit or human opinion was regarded as the only substantial knowledge in existence and the abstract knowledge of the philosophers as a useless dream ('I can see horses, Plato,' said Antisthenes, 'but I nowhere see your ideal horse'). It would be interesting to follow this ancient conflict through history down to the present. One would then learn that the conflict turns up in many places and has many shapes. Two examples must suffice to illustrate the great variety of its manifestations. When Gottsched wanted to reform the German theatre he looked for plays worth imitating. That is, he looked for traditions more orderly, more dignified, more respectable than what he found on the stage of his time. He was attracted by the French theatre and here mainly by Corneille. Being convinced that 'such a complex edifice of poetry (as tragedy) could hardly exist without rules' 2 he looked for the rules and found Aristotle. For him the rules of Aristotle were not a particular way of viewing the theatre, they were the reason for excellence where excellence was found and guides to improvement where improvement seemed necessary. Good theatre was an embodiment of the rules of Aristotle. Lessing gradually prepared a different view. First he restored what he thought to be the real 2. 'Vorrede zum "Sterbenden Cato" ' quoted fromJ. Chr. Gottsched, Sch rijim zur Literatur, Stuttgart, 1 972, p. 200.
Aristotle a s opposed to the Aristotle of Comeille and Gottsched. Next he permitted violations of the letter of Aristotle's rules provided such violations did not lose sight of their aim. And, finally he suggested a different paradigm and emphasized that a mind inventive enough to construct it need not be restricted by rules. If such a mind succeeds in his efforts 'then let us forget the textbook!' 3
In a different (and much less interesting) domain we have the opposition between those who suggest that languages be constructed and reconstructed in accordance with simple and clear rules and who favourably compare such idea/ languages with the sloppy and opaque natural idioms and other philosophers who assert that natural languages, being adapted to a wide variety of circumstances, could never be adequately replaced by their anaemic logical competitors. This tendency to view differences in the structure of traditions (complex and opaque vs simple and clear) as differences in kind (real vs imperfect realization of it) is reinforced by the fact that the critics of a practice take an observer's position with respect to it but remain participants of the practice that provides them with their objections. Speaking the language and using the standards of this practice they 'discover' limitations, faults, errors when all that really happens is that the two practices - the one that is being criticized and the one that does the criticizing - don't fit each other. Many arguments against an out-and-out materialism are of this kind. They notice that materialism changes the use of 'mental' terms, they illustrate the consequences of the change with amusing absurdities (thoughts having weight and the like) and then they stop. The absurdities show that materialism clashes with our usual ways of speaking about minds, they do not show what is better - materialism or these ways. But taking the participants' point of view with respect to common sense turns the absurdities into arguments against materialism. It is as if Americans were to object to foreign currencies because they cannot be brought into simple relations (1 : 1 or 1 : 1 0 or 1 : 1 00) to the dollar. The tendency to adopt a participant's view with respect to the position that does the judging and so to create an Archimedian point for criticism is reinforced by certain distinctions that are the pride and joy of armchair philosophers. I refer to the distinction between an evaluation and the fact that an evaluation has been made, a 3. Hamburger Dramaturgie, Stuck 48. Cf., however, Lessing's criticism of the claims of the 'original geniuses' of his time in Stiick 96. Lessing's account of the relation between 'reason' and practice is quite complex and in agreement with the view developed further below.
proposal and the fact that the proposal has been accepted, and the related distinction between subjective wishes and objective standards of excellence. When speaking as observers we often say that certain groups accept certain standards, or think highly of these standards. Speaking as participants we equally often use the standards without any reference to their origin or to the wishes of those using them. We say 'theories ought to be falsifiable and contradiction free' and not 'I want theories to be falsifiable and contradiction free' or 'scientists become very unhappy unless their theories are falsifiable and contradiction free'. Now it is quite correct that statements of the first kind (proposals, rules, standards) (a) contain no reference to the wishes of individual human beings or to the habits of a tribe and (b) cannot be derived from, or contradicted by, statements concerning such wishes, or habits, or any other facts. But that does not make them 'objective' and independent of traditions. To infer from the absence of terms concerning subjects or groups in 'there ought to be . . . ' that the demand made is 'objective' would be just as erroneous as to claim 'objectivity' i.e. independence from personal or group idiosyncrasies, for optical illusions and mass hallucinations on the grounds that the subject, or the group, nowhere occurs in them. There are many statements that are formulated 'objectively', i.e. without reference to traditions or practices, but are still meant to be understood in relation to a practice. Examples are dates, co-ordinates, statements concerning the value of a currency, statements of logic (after the discovery of alternative logics), statements of geometry (after the discovery of Non-Euclidean geometries) and so on. The fact that the retort to 'you ought to do X' can be 'that's what you think!' shows that the same is true of value statements. And those cases where the reply is not allowed can be easily rectified by using discoveries in value theory that correspond to the discovery of alternative geometries, or alternative logical systems: we confront 'objective' value judgement from different cultures or different practices and ask the objectivist how he is going to resolve the conflict.4 Reduction to shared principles is not always possible and so we must admit that the demands or the formulae expressing them 4. In the play The Ruling Class (later turned into a somewhat vapid film with Peter O'Toole) two madmen claiming to be God are confronted with each other. This marvellous idea so confuses the playwright that he uses fire and brimstone instead of dialogue to get over the problem. His final solution, however, is quite interesting. The one madman turns into a good, upright, normal British Citizen who plays Jack the Ripper on the side. Did the playwright mean to say that our modem 'objectivists' who have been through the fire of relativism can return to normalcy only if they are permitted to annihilate all disturbing elements?
are incomplete as used and have to b e revised. Continued insistence on the 'objectivity' ofvalue judgements however would be as illiterate as continued insistence on the 'absolute' use of the pair 'up-down' after discovery of the spherical shape of the earth. And an argument such as 'it is one thing to utter a demand and quite a different thing to assert that a demand has been made - therefore a multiplicity of cultures does not mean relativism' has much in common with the argument that antipodes cannot exist because they would fall 'down'. Both cases rest on antediluvian concepts (and inadequate distinc tions). Small wonder our 'rationalists' are fascinated by them. With this we have also our answer to (b). It is true that stating a demand and describing a practice may be two different things and that logical connections cannot be established between them. This does not mean that the interaction between demands and practices cannot be treated and evaluated as an interaction of practices. For the difference is due, first, to a difference between observer-attitude and participant-attitude: one side, the side defending the 'objectivity' of its values, uses its tradition instead of examining it - which does not tum the tradition into an objective measure ofvalidity. And secondly, the difference is due to concepts that have been adapted to such one sidedness. The colonial official who proclaims new laws and a new order in the name of the king has a much better grasp of the situation than the rationalist who recites the mere letter of the law without any reference to the circumstances ofits application and who regards this fatal incompleteness as proof of the 'objectivity' of the laws recited. After this preparation let us now look at what has been called 'the relation between reason and practice'. Simplifying matters somewhat we can say that there exist three views on the matter. A. Reason guides practice. Its authority is independent of the authority of practices and traditions and it shapes the practice in accordance with its demands. This we may call the idealistic version of the relation. B. Reason receives both its content and its authority from practice. It describes the way in which practice works and formulates its underlying principles. This version has been called naturalism and it has occasionally been attributed to Hegel (though erroneously so). Both idealism and naturalism have difficulties. The difficulties of idealism are that the idealist does not only want to 'act rationally' he also wants his rational actions to have results. And he wants these results to occur not only among the idealizations he uses but in the real world he inhabits. For example, he wants real
human beings to build up and maintain the society of his dreams, he wants to understand the motions and the nature of real stars and real stones. Though he may advise us to 'put aside (all observation of) the heavens' 5 and to concentrate on ideas only he eventually returns to nature in order to see to what extent he has grasped its laws. 6 It then often turns out and it often has turned out that acting rationally in the sense preferred by him does not produce the expected results. This conflict between rationality and expectations was one of the main reasons for the constant reform of the canons of rationality and much encouraged naturalism. But naturalism is not satisfactory either. Having chosen a popular and successful practice the naturalist has the advantage of 'being on the right side', at least for the time being. But a practice may deteriorate; or it may be popular for the wrong reasons. (Much of the popularity of modern scientific medicine is due to the fact that sick people have nowhere else to go and that television, rumours, the technical circus of well equipped hospitals convince them that they could not possibly do better.) Basing standards on a practice and leaving it at that may forever perpetuate the shortcomings of this practice. The difficulties of naturalism and idealism have certain elements in common. The inadequacy of standards often becomes clear from the barrenness of the practice they engender, the shortcomings of practices often are very obvious when practices based on different standards flourish. This suggests that reason and practice are not two different kinds of entities but parts ofa single dia/eaicalprocess. The suggestion can be illustrated by the relation between a map and the adventures of a person using it or by the relation between an artisan and his instruments. Originally maps were constructed as images of and guides to reality and so, presumably, was reason. But maps like reason contain idealizations (Hecataeus of Miletus, for example, imposed the general outlines of Anaximander' s cosmology on his account of the occupied world and represented continents by geometrical figures). The wanderer uses the map to find his way but he also corrects it as he proceeds, removing old idealizations and introducing new ones. Using the map no matter what will soon get him into trouble. But it is better to have maps than to proceed without them. In the same way, the example says, reason without the guidance of a practice will lead us astray while a practice is vastly improved by the addition of reason.
5. Plato, Republic, 530bf. 6 . Epinomis.
A G A I N S T M ETHOD
This account, though better than naturalism and idealism and much more realistic, is still not entirely satisfactory. lt replaces a one sided action (of reason upon practice or practice upon reason) by an interaction but it retains (certain aspects oO the old views of the interacting agencies: reason and practice are still regarded as entities of different kinds. They are both needed but reason can exist without a practice and practice can exist without reason. Shall we accept this account of the matter? To answer the question we need only remember that the difference between 'reason' and something 'unreasonable' that must be formed by it or can be used to put it in its place arose from turning structural differences of practices into differences of kind. Even the most perfect standards or rules are not independent of the material on which they act (how else could they find a point of attack in it?) and we would hardly understand them or know how to use them were they not well-integrated parts of a rather complex and in places quite opaque practice or tradition, viz. the language in which the defensor rationis expresses his stem commands. 7 On the other hand even the most disorderly practice is not without its regularities, as emerges from our attitude towards non-participants. 8 What is called 'reason ' and 'practice ' are therefore two different types ofpractice, the difference being that the one clearly exhibits some simple and easily producible formal aspects, thus making us forget the complex and hardly understood properties that guarantee the simplicity and producibility, while the other drowns the formal aspects under a great variety of accidental properties. But complex and implicit reason is still reason and a practice with simple formal features hovering above a pervasive but unnoticed background of linguistic habits is still a practice. Disregarding (or, rather, not even noticing) the sense-giving and application-guaranteeing mechanism in the first case and the implicit regularities in the second a rationalist perceives law and order here and material yet in need of being shaped there. The habit, also commented upon in an earlier part of this section, to take a participant's point of view with respect to the former and an 7. This point has been made with great force and with the help of many examples by Wittgenstein (cf. my essay 'Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations', Phil Rev., 1 955). What have rationalists replied? Russell (coldly): 'I don't understand.' Sir Karl Popper (breathlessly): 'He is right, he is right - I don't understand it either!' In a word: the point is irrelevant because leading rationalists don't understand it. I, on the other hand, would start doubting the intelligence (and perhaps also the inte.llectual honesty) of rationalists who don't understand (or pretend not to understand) such a simple point. 8. Cf. my short comments on 'covert classifications' in Chapter 1 6.
S EV E N T E E N
observer's attitude towards the latter further separates what is so intimately connected in reality. And so we have finally two agencies, stem and orderly reason on the one side, a malleable but not entirely yielding material on the other, and with this all the 'problems of rationality' that have provided philosophers with intellectual (and, let us not forget, also with financial) nourishment ever since the 'Rise of Rationalism in the West'. One cannot help noticing that the arguments that are still used to support this magnificent result are indistinguishable from those of the theologian who infers a creator wherever he sees some kind of order: obviously order is not inherent in matter and so must have been imposed from the outside. The interaction view must therefore be supplemented with a satisfactory account of the interacting agencies. Presented in this way it becomes a triviality. For there is no tradition no matter how hard headed its scholars and how hard-limbed its warriors that will remain unaffected by what occurs around it. At any rate - what changes, and how, is now a matter either for historical research or for political action carried out by those who participate in the interacting traditions. I shall now state the implications of these results in a series of theses with corresponding explanations. We have seen that rational standards and the arguments supporting them are visible parts of special traditions consisting of clear and explicit principles and an unnoticed and largely unknown but ahsolutely necessary background of dispositions for action and j m.a6ement. The standards become 'objective' measures of excel lence when adopted by participants of traditions of this kind. We have then 'objective' rational standards and arguments for their validity. We have further seen that there are other traditions that also lead to judgements though not on the basis of explicit standards and principles. These value judgements have a more 'immediate' character, but they are still evaluations, just like those of the rationalist. In both cases judgements are made by individuals who participate in traditions and use them to separate 'Good' from 'Evil'. We can therefore state: i. Traditions are neither good nor bad, they simply are. 'Objectively speaking' , i.e. independently of participation in a tradition, there is not much to choose between humanitarianism and anti-Semitism.
Corollary: rationality is not an arbiter of traditions, it is itself a tradition or an aspect of a tradition. It is therefore neither good nor bad, it simply is.
A GA I NST METHOD
ii. A tradition assumes desirable or undesirable properties only when compared with some tradition, i.e. only when viewed by participants
who see the world in terms of its values. The projections of these participants appear objeaive and statements describing them sound objeaive because the participants and the tradition they project are nowhere mentioned in them. They are subjeaive because they depend on the tradition chosen and on the use the participants make of it. The subjectivity is noticed as soon as participants realize that different traditions give rise to different judgements. They will then have to revise the content of their value statements just as physicists revised the content of even the simplest statement concerning length when it was discovered that length depends on reference systems and just as everybody revised the content of 'down' when it was discovered that the earth is spherical. Those who don't carry out the revision cannot pride themselves on forming a special school of especially astute philosophers who have overcome moral relativism, just as those who still cling to absolute lengths cannot pride themselves on forming a special school of especially astute physicists who have overcome relativity. They are just pig-headed, or badly informed, or both. iii. i. and ii. imply a relativism ofprecisely the kind that seems to have been defended by Protagoras. Protagorean relativism is reasonable because it pays attention to the pluralism of traditions and values. And it is civilized for it does not assume that one's own village and the strange customs it contains are the navel of the world. 9
iv. Every tradition has special ways of gaining followers. Some traditions reflect about these ways and change them from one group to the next. Others take it for granted that there is only one way of making people accept their views. Depending on the tradition adopted this way will look acceptable, laughable, rational, foolish, or will be pushed aside as 'mere propaganda'. Argument is propaganda for one observer, the essence of human discourse for another. v. We have seen that individuals or groups participating in the interaction of traditions may adopt a pragmatic philosophy when judging the events and structures that arise. The principles of their philosophy often emerge only during the interaction (people change while observing change or participating in it and the traditions they use may change with them). This means thatjudging a historicalprocess one may use an as yet unspecified and unspecifiablepraaice. One may base 9. Protagoras is discussed in detail in Chapter I , sections 3fT ofFarewell to Reason.
judgements and actions on standards that cannot be specified in advance but are introduced by the very judgements (actions) they are supposed to guide and one may even act without any standards, simply following some natural inclination. The fierce warrior who cures his wounded enemy instead of killing him has no idea why he acts as he does and gives an entirely erroneous account of his reasons. But his action introduces an age of collaboration and peaceful competition instead of permanent hostility and so creates a new tradition of commerce between nations. The question - how will you decide what path to choose? How will you know what pleases you and what you want to reject? has therefore at least two answers, viz. (1) there is no decision but a natural development leading to traditions which in retrospect give reasons for the action had it been a decision in accordance with standards or (2) to ask how one will judge and choose in as yet unknown surroundings makes as much sense as to ask what measuring instruments one will use in as yet unexplored domains. Standards which are intellectual measuring instruments often have to be irrvented to make sense of new historical situations just as measuring instruments have constantly to be invented to make sense of new physical situations.
vi. There are therefore at least two different ways of col/eaive/y
deciding an issue which exchange respectively.
I shall call a
In the first case some or all participants adopt a well-specified tradition and accept only those responses that correspond to its standards. If one party has not yet become a participant of the chosen tradition he will be badgered, persuaded, 'educated' until he does and then the exchange begins. Education is separated from decisive debates, it occurs at an early stage and guarantees that the grown-ups will behave properly. A rational debate is a special case of a guided exchange. If the participants are rationalists then all is well and the debate can start right away. If only some participants are rationalists and if they have power (an important consideration!) then they will not take their collaborators seriously until they have also become rationalists: a society based on rationality is not entirely free; one has to play the game of the intellectuals. 1 0 An open exchange, on the other hand, is guided by a pragmatic philosophy. The tradition adopted by the parties is unspecified in the 1 0. 'It is perhaps hardly necessary to say', says john Stuart Mill, 'that this doctrine (plu ralism of ideas and institutions) is meant to apply only to human beings in the ?taturity of their faculties' - i.e. to fellow intellectuals and their pupils. 'On Liberty', m ThePh ilosophy ofJohn Stuart Mill, ed. M. Cohen, New York, 1 96 1 , p. 1 97.
AGA INST METHOD
beginning and develops as the exchange proceeds. The participants get immersed into each other's ways of thinking, feeling, perceiving to such an extent that their ideas, perceptions, world-views may be entirely changed - they become different people participating in a new and different tradition. An open exchange respects the partner whether he is an individual or an entire culture, while a rational exchange promises respect only within the framework of a rational debate. An open exchange has no organon though it may invent one, there is no logic though new forms oflogic may emerge in its course. An open exchange establishes connections between different traditions and transcends the relativism of points iii and iv. However, it transcends it in a way that cannot be made objective but depends in an unforeseeable manner on the (historical, psychological, material) conditions in which it occurs. (Cf. also the last paragraph of Chapter 1 6.)
vii . A free society is a society in which all traditions are given equal rights, equal access to education and other positions ofpower. This is an
obvious consequence of i, ii and iii . If traditions have advantages only from the point of view of other traditions then choosing one tradition as a basis of a free society is an arbitrary act that can be justified only by resorting to power. A free society thus cannot be based on any particular creed; for example, it cannot be based on rationalism or on humanitarian considerations. The basic structure ofa free society is a proteaive structure, not an ideology, it functions like an iron railing not like a conviction. But how is this structure to be conceived? Is it not necessary to debate the matter or should the structure be simply imposed? And if it is necessary to debate the matter then should this debate not be kept free from subjective influences and based on 'objective' considerations only? This is how intellectuals try to convince their fellow citizens that the money paid to them is well spent and that their ideology should continue to assume the central position it now has. I have already exposed the errors-cum deceptions behind the phrase of the 'objectivity of a rational debate': the standards of such a debate are not 'objective' they only appear to be 'objective' because reference to the group that profits from their use has been omitted. They are like the invitations of a clever tyrant who instead of saying ' I want you to do . . . ' or ' I and my wife want you to do . . . ' says 'What all of us want is . . . ' or 'what the gods want of us is . . . ' or, even better, 'it is rational to do . . . ' and so seems to leave out his own person entirely. It is somewhat depressing to see how many intelligent people have fallen for such a shallow trick. We remove it by observing:
vm. that a free society will not be imposed but will emerge only where people engaging in an open exchange (cf. vi above) introduce proteaive struaures of the kind alluded to. Citizen initiatives on a small scale,
collaboration between nations on a larger scale are the developments I have in mind. The United States are not a free society in the sense described here. ix. The debates settling the structure ofafree society are open debates not guided debates. This does not mean that the concrete developments described under the last thesis already use open debates, it means that they could use them and that rationalism is not a necessary ingredient
of the basic structure of a free society. The results for science are obvious. Here we have a particular tradition, 'objectively' on par with all other traditions (theses i and vii) . Its results will appear magnificent to some traditions, execrable to others, barely worth a yawn to still further traditions. Of course, our well-conditioned materialistic contemporaries are liable to burst with excitement over events such as the moonshots, the double helix, non-equilibrium thermodynamics. But let us look at the matter from a different point of view, and it becomes a ridiculous exercise in futility. It needed billions of dollars, thousands of well-trained assistants, years of hard work to enable some inarticulate and rather limited contemporaries 1 1 to perform a few graceless hops in a place nobody in his right mind would think of visiting- a dried out, airless, hot stone. But mystics, using only their minds, travelled across the celestial spheres to God himself, whom they viewed in all his splendour, receiving strength for continuing their lives and enlightenment for themselves and their fellow men. It is only the illiteracy of the general public and of their stem trainers, the intellectuals, and their amazing lack of imagination that makes them reject such comparisons without further ado. A free society does not object to such an attitude but it will not permit it to become a basic ideology either. x. A free society insists on the separation ofscience and society. More about this topic in Chapter 1 9.
1 1 . Cf. Norman Mailer, OJa Fire on the Moon, London, 1 970.
18 Yet it is possible to evaluate standards of rationality and to impruve them. The principles of impruvement are neither abuve tradition nor beyond change and it is impossible to nail them down.
I shall now illustrate some of these results by showing how standards are and have been criticized in physics and astronomy and how this procedure can be extended to other fields. Chapter 17 started with the general problem of the relation between reason and practice. In the illustration reason becomes scientific rationality, practice the practice of scientific research, and the problem is the relation between scientific rationality and research. I shall discuss the answers given by idealism, naturalism and by a third position, not yet mentioned, which I shall call naive anarchism. According to idealism it is rational (proper, in accordance with the will of the gods - or whatever other encouraging words are being used to befuddle the natives) to do certain things - come what may lt is rational (proper, etc.) to kill the enemies of the faith, to avoid ad hoc hypotheses, to despise the desires of the body, to remove inconsistencies, to support progressive research programmes and so on. Rationality Oustice, the Divine Law) are universal, independent of mood, context, historical circumstances and give rise to equally universal rules and standards. There is a version of idealism that seems to be somewhat more sophisticated but actually is not. Rationality (the law, etc.) is no longer said to be universal, but there are universally valid conditional statements asserting what is rational in what context and there are corresponding conditional rules. Some reviewers have classified me as an idealist in the sense just described with the proviso that I try to replace familiar rules and standards by more 'revolutionary' rules such as proliferation and counterinduction and almost everyone has ascribed to me a 'methodology' with 'anything goes' as its one 'basic principle'. But in .
Chapter 2 I say quite explicitly that 'my intention is not to replace one set of general rules by another such set: my intention is, rather, to convince the reader that, all methodologies, even the most obvious ones, have their limits' or, to express it in terms just explained, my intention is to show that idealism, whether of the simple or of the context dependent kind, is the wrong solution for the problems of scientific rationality. These problems are not solved by a change of standards but by taking a different view of standards altogether. Idealism can be dogmatic and it can be critical. In the first case the rules proposed are regarded as final and unchangeable; in the second case there is the possibility of discussion and change. But the discussion does not take practices into account - it remains restricted to an abstract domain of standards, rules and logic. The limitation of all rules and standards is recognized by naive anarchism. A naive anarchist says (a) that both absolute rules and context-dependent rules have their limits and infers (b) that all rules and standards are worthless and should be given up. Most reviewers regard me as a naive anarchist in this sense, overlooking the many passages where I show how certain procedures aided scientists in their research. For in my studies of Galileo, of Brownian motion, of the Presocratics I not only demonstrate the failures of familiar standards, I also try to show what not so familiar procedures did actually succeed. Thus while I agree with (a) I do not agree with (b). I argue that all rules have their limits and that there is no comprehensive 'rationality', I do not argue that we should proceed without rules and standards. I also argue for a context ual account but again the contextual rules are not to replace the absolute rules, they are to supplement them. Moreover, I suggest a new relation between rules and practices. It is this relation and not any particular rule-content that characterizes the position I wish to defend. This position adopts some elements of naturalism but it rejects the naturalist philosophy. According to naturalism rules and standards are obtained by an analysis of traditions. As we have seen the problem is which tradition to choose. Philosophers of science will of course opt for science as their basic tradition. But science is not one tradition, it is many, and so it gives rise to many and partly incompatible standards (I have explained this difficulty in my discussion of Lakatos). 1 Besides, the procedure makes it impossible for the philosopher to give reasons for his choice of science over myth 1 . Philosophical Papers, Vol. 2, Chapter 1 0. Cf. also Chapter 19.
or Aristotle. Naturalism cannot solve the problem of scientific rationality. As in Chapter 1 7 we can now compare the drawbacks of naturalism and idealism and arrive at a more satisfactory view. Naturalism says that reason is completely detennined by research. Of this we retain the idea that research can change reason. Idealism says that reason completely guverns research. Of this we retain the idea that reason can change research. Combining the two elements we arrive at the idea of a guide who is part of the activity guided and is changed by it. This corresponds to the interactionist view of reason and practice formulated in Chapter 1 7 and illustrated by the example of the map. Now the interactionist view assumes two different entities, a disembodied guide on the one side and a well-endowed practice on the other. But the guide seems dis embodied only because its 'body', i.e. the very substantial practice that underlies it, is not noticed and the 'practice' seems crude and in need of a guide only because one is not aware of the complex and rather sophisticated laws it contains. Thus the problem is not the interaction of a practice with something different and external, but the development ofone tradition under the impact ofothers. A look at the way in which science treats its problems and revises its 'standards' confirms this picture. In physics theories are used both as descriptions of facts and as standards of speculation and factual accuracy. Measuring instruments are constructed in accordance with laws and their readings are tested under the assumption that these laws are correct. In a similar way theories giving rise to physical principles provide standards to judge other theories by: theories that are relativistically invariant are better than theories that are not. Such standards are of course not untouchable. The standard of relativistic invariance, for example, may be removed when one discovers that the theory of relativity has serious shortcomings. Shortcomings are occasionally found by a direct examination of the theory, for example by an examination ofits mathematics, or its predictive success. They may also be found by the development of alternatives (cf. Chapter 3) - i.e. by research that violates the standards to be examined. The idea that nature is infinitely rich both qualitatively and quantitatively leads to the desire to make new discoveries and thus to a principle of content increase which gives us another standard to judge theories by: theories that have excess content over what is already known are preferable to theories that have not. Again the standard is not untouchable. It is in trouble the moment we discover that we inhabit a finite world. The discovery is prepared by the
E I G HTEEN
development of 'Aristotelian' theories which refrain from going beyond a given set of properties - it is again prepared by research that violates the standard. The procedure used in both cases contains a variety of elements and so there are different ways of describing it, or reacting to it. One element and to my mind the most important one is cosmological. The standards ·we use and the rules we recommend make sense only in a world that has a certain structure. They become inapplicable, or start running idle in a domain that does not exhibit this structure. When people heard of the new discoveries of Columbus, Magellan, Diaz they realized that there were continents, climates, races not enumerated in the ancient accounts and they conjectured there might be new continents of knowledge as well, that there might be an 'America of Knowledge' just as there was a new geographical entity called 'America', and they tried to discover it by venturing beyond the limits of the received ideas. The demand for content increase now became very plausible. It arose from the wish to discover more and more of a nature that seemed to be infinitely rich in extent and quality. The demand has no point in a finite world that is composed of a finite number of basic qualities. How do we find the cosmology that supports or suspends our standards? The reply introduces the second element that enters the revision of standards, viz. theorizing in a general sense, including myth and metaphysical speculation. The idea of a finite world becomes acceptable when we have theories describing such a world and when these theories tum out to be better than their infinitist rivals. The world is not directly given to us, we have to catch it through the medium of traditions which means that even the cosmological argument refers to a certain stage of competition between world-views, theories of rationality included. Now when scientists become accustomed to treating theories in a certain way, when they forget the reasons for this treatment but simply regard it as the 'essence of science' or as an 'important part of what it means to be scientific', when philosophers aid them in their forgetfulness by systematizing the familiar procedures and showing how they flow from an abstract theory of rationality then the theories needed to show the shortcomings of the underlying standards will not be introduced or, if they are introduced, will not be taken seriously. They will not be taken seriously because they clash with customary habits and systematizations thereof. For example, a good way of examining the idea that the world is finite both qualitatively and quantitatively is to develop an Aristotelian cosmology. Such a cosmology provides means of
description adapted to a finite world while the corresponding methodology replaces the demand for content increase by the demand for adequate descriptions of this kind. Assume we introduce theories that correspond to the cosmology and develop them in accordance with the new rules. What will happen? Scientists will be unhappy for the theories have unfamiliar properties. Philosophers of science will be unhappy because they introduce standards unheard of in their profession. Being fond of surrounding their unhappiness with arias called 'reasons' they will go a little further. They will say that they are not merely unhappy, but have 'arguments' for their unhappiness. The arguments in most cases are elaborate repetitions and variations of the standards they grew up with and so their cognitive content is that of 'But the theory is ad hoc!' or 'But the theories are developed without content increase!' And all one hears when asking the further question why that is so bad is either that science has proceeded differently for at least 200 years or that content increase solves some problems of confirmation theory. Yet the question was not what science does but how it can be improved and whether adopting some confirmation theories is a good way of learning about the world. No answer is forthcoming. And so interesting possibilities are removed by firmly insisting on the status quo. It is amusing to see that such insistence becomes the more determined the more 'critical' the philosophy that is faced with the problem. We, on the other hand, retain the lesson that the validity,
usefulness, adequacy ofpopular standards can be checked only by research that violates them. A further example, to illustrate the point. The idea that information concerning the external world travels undisturbed via the senses into the mind leads to the standard that all knowledge must be checked by observation: theories that agree with observation are preferable to theories that do not. This simple standard is in need of replacement the moment we discover that sensory information is distorted in many ways. We make the discovery when developing theories that conflict with observation and finding that they excel in many other respects (Chapters 5 to 1 1 describe how Galileo contributed to the discovery). Finally, the idea that things are well defined and that we do not live in a paradoxical world leads to the standard that our knowledge must be self-consistent. Theories that contain contradictions cannot be part of science. This apparently quite fundamental standard which many philosophers accept as unhesitatingly as Catholics once accepted the dogma of the immaculate conception of the Virgin loses its authority the moment we find that there are facts whose only
EI G H T E E N
adequate description is inconsistent and that inconsistent theories may be fruitful and easy to handle while the attempt to make them conform to the demands of consistency creates useless and unwieldy 2 monsters. The last example raises further questions which are usually formulated as objections against it (and against the criticism of other standards as well, standards of content increase included). One objection is that non-contradiction is a necessary condition of research. A procedure not in agreement with this standard is not research - it is chaos. It is therefore not possible to examine non contradiction in the manner described in the last example. The main part of the objection is the second statement and it is usually supported by the remark that a contradiction implies every statement. This it does - but only in rather simple logical systems. Now it is clear that changing standards or basic theories has repercussions that must be taken care of. Admitting velocities larger than the velocity of light into relativity and leaving everything else unchanged gives us some rather puzzling results such as imaginary masses . and velocities. Admitting well-defined positions and momenta into the quantum theory and leaving everything else unchanged creates havoc with the laws of interference. Admitting contradictions into a system of ideas allegedly connected by the laws of standard logic and leaving everything else unchanged makes us assert every statement. Obviously we shall have to make some further changes, for example we shall have to change some rules of derivation in the last case. Carrying out the change removes the problems and research can proceed as planned. (Scientific practice containing inconsistencies is already arranged in the right way.) But - says an objection that is frequently raised at this point: how will the results of the research be evaluated if fundamental standards have been removed? For example, what standards show that research in violation of content increase produces theories which are 'better than their infinitist rivals' as I said a few paragraphs ago? Or what standards show that theories in conflict with observations have something to offer while their observationally impeccable rivals have not? Does not a decision to accept unusual theories and to reject familiar ones assume standards and is it not clear, therefore, that cosmological investigations cannot try to provide alternatives to all standards? These are some of the questions one hears with tiring regularity in the discussion of 'fundamental principles' such as
2 . Cf. Chapter 1 6, text to footnotes 9 1 fT.
AGAINST M ET H O D
consistency, content increase, observational adequacy, falsifiability, and so on. It is not difficult to answer them. It is asked how research leading to the revision of standards is to be evaluated. For example, when and on what grounds shall we be satisfied that research containing inconsistencies has revealed a fatal shortcoming of the standard of non-contradiction? The question makes as little sense as the question what measuring instruments will help us to explore an as yet unspecified region of the universe. We don't know the region, we cannot say what will work in it. To advance we must either enter the region, or start making conjectures about it. We enter the region by articulating unusual intellectual, social, emotional tendencies, no matter how strange they may seem when viewed through the spectacles of established theories or standards. It would certainly be silly to disregard physicalfeatures that do not agree with deeply ingrained spiritual notions. But it is equally shortsighted to curtail fantasies that do not seem to fit into the physical universe. Fantasies and, in fact, the entire subjectivity of human beings are just as much a part of the world as fleas, stones and quarks and there is no reason why we should change them to protect the latter. Similar considerations apply to the standards that are supposed to guide our thoughts and actions. They are not stable and they cannot be stabilized by tying them to a particular point of view. For Aristotle knowledge was qualitative and observational. Today knowledge is quantitative and theoretical, at least as far as our leading natural scientists are concerned. Who is right? That depends on what kind of information has privileged status and this in tum depends on the culture, or the 'cultural leaders' who use the information. Many people, without much thought, prefer technology to harmony with Nature; hence, quantitative and theoretical information is regarded as 'real' and qualities as 'apparent' and secondary. But a culture that centres on humans, prefers personal acquaintance to abstract relations (intelligence quotients; efficiency statistics) and a naturalists' approach to that of molecular biologists will say that knowledge is qualitative and will interpret quantitative laws as bookkeeping devices, not as elements of reality. Combining the considerations of the last two paragraphs we see that even the apparently hardest scientific 'fact' can be dissolved by decisions undermining the values that make it a fact and/or by research that replaces it by facts of a different kind. This is not a new procedure. Philosophers from Parmenides to 20th-century (undialectical) materialists and scientists from Galileo and Descartes to Monod used it to devalue, and to declare as mere appearance, the qualitative features of human life. But what can be used to support
science can also be used against it. The (cultural) measuring instruments that separate 'reality' from 'appearance' change and must change when we move from one culture to another and from one historical stage to the next, just as our physical measuring instruments change and must change when we leave one physical region (one historical period) and enter another.
19 Science is neither a single tradition, nor the best tradition there is, exceptfor people who have become accustomed to its presence, its benefits and its disadvantages. In a democracy it should be separatedfrom the state just as churches are now separatedfrom the state.
I shall now summarize the arguments of the preceding chapters by trying to answer the following three questions. 1 . What is science? How do scientists proceed, how do their standards differ from the standards of other enterprises? 2. What s so great about science? What are the reasons that might compel us to prefer the sciences to other forms of life and ways of gathering knowledge? 3. How are we to use the sciences and who decides the matter? My answer to the first question is that the wide divergence of individuals, schools, historical periods, entire sciences makes it extremely difficult to identify comprehensive principles either of method, or of fact. The word 'science' may be a single word - but there is no single entity that corresponds to that word. In the domain of method we have scientists like Salvador Luria who want to tie research to events permitting 'strong inferences', 'predictions that will be stronfly supported and sharply rejected by a clear-cut experimental step'. According to Luria the experiments (Luria and Delbrueck, 1 943) which showed that the resistance of bacteria to phage invasion is a result of environment-independent mutations and not of an adaptation to the environment had precisely this character. There was a simple prediction: fluctuations, from one culture to the next, of surviving colonies of bacteria on an agar containing an excess of bacteriophages would be small in the first case, but would contain I . S.E. Luria, A Slot Machine, a Broken Test Tube, New York, 1 985, p. 1 1 5.
avalanches in the second. The prediction could be tested in a simple and straightforward way and there was a decisive result. (The result refuted Lamarckism, which was popular among bacteriologists but practically extinct elsewhere - a first indication of the complexity of
science.) Scientists inclined in the manner of Luria show a considerable 'lack of enthusiasm in the "big problems" of the Universe or of the early Earth or in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the upper atmosphere'/ all subjects that are 'loaded with weak inferences'. 3 In a way they are continuing the Aristotelian approach which demands close contact with eTerience and objects to following a plausible idea to the bitter end. However, this was precisely the procedure adopted by Einstein, by researchers in celestial mechanics between Newton and Poincare, by the proponents of atomism and, later, the kinetic theory, by Heisenberg during the initial stages of matrix mechanics and by almost all cosmologists. Einstein's first cosmological paper is a purely theoretical exercise containing not a single astronomical constant. The subject of cosmology itself for a long time found few supporters among physicists. Hubble the observer was respected, the rest had a hard time: Journals accepted papers from observers, giving them only the most cursory refereeing whereas our own papers always had a stiff passage, to a point where one became quite worn out with explaining points of mathematics, physics, fact and logic to the obtuse minds who constitute the mysterious anonymous class of referees, doing their
work, like owls, in the darkness of the night.5
'Is it not really strange', asks Einstein, 'that human beings are normally deaf to the strongest argument while they are always inclined to overestimate measuring accuracies?'6 - but just such an 'over estimating of measuring accuracies' is the rule in epidemiology, demography, genetics, spectroscopy and in other subjects. The variety increases when we move into sciences like cultural
2. ibid. , p. 1 1 9. 3. ibid. 4. De Coelo 293a24ff. 5. F. Hoyle in Y. Terzian and E.M. Bilson (eds), Cosmology and Astrophysics, Ithaca and London, 1 982, p. 2 1 . 6. Letter to Max Born, quoted from the Born-Einstein Letters, New York, 1 97 1 , p. 1 92.
A GAINST M E TH OD
anthropology where a compromise has to be found between the effects of personal contact and the idea of an objective approach on the one side and the practical needs for quick action and theoretical thoroughness on the other. 'To hear a seminar at a university about modes of production in the morning', writes Robert Chambers, and then attend a meeting in a government office about agricultural extension in the afternoon leaves a schizoid feeling. One might not know that both referred to the same small farmers and might doubt whether either discussion has anything to contribute to the other.7
But is it not true that scientists proceed in a methodical way, avoid accidents and pay attention to observation and experiment? Not always. Some scientists propose theories and calculate cases which have little or no connection with reality. 'The great growth in technical achievements which began in the nineteenth century', we read in L. Prandtl's lectures Fundamentals of Hydro- and
Aeromechanics, left scientific knowledge far behind. The multitudinous problems of practice could not be answered by the hydrodynamics of Euler; they could not even be discussed. This was chiefly because, starting from Euler's equations of motion the science had become more and more a purely academic analysis of the hypothetical frictionless 'ideal fluid'. This theoretical development is associated with the names of Helmholtz, Kelvin, Lamb and Rayleigh. The analytical results obtained by means of this
hydrodynamics' virtually do not agree at all with the practical phenomena . . . . Therefore the engineers . . . put their trust in a mass of empirical data collectively known as the 'science of hydraulics', a branch of knowledge which grew more and more unlike hydro dynamics.8
According to Prandtl we have a disorderly collection of facts on the one side, sets of theories starting from simple but counterfactual assumptions on the other and no connection between the two. More recently the axiomatic approach in quantum mechanics and especially in quantum field theory was compared by cynical observers to the shakers, 'a religious sect of New England who built solid barns 7. Rural D�/opmmt, London, 1 983, p. 29. 8. Ed. O.G. Tietjens, New York, 1 954, p. 3.
and led celibate lives, a non-scientific equivalent of proving rigorous theorems and calculating no cross sections'. 9 Yet in quantum mechanics this apparently useless activity has led to a more coherent and far more satisfactory codification of the facts than had been achieved before, while in hydrodynamics 'physical commonsense' occasionally turned out to be less accurate than the results of rigorous proofs based on wildly unrealistic assumptions. An early example is Maxwell's calculation of the viscosity of gases. For Maxwell this was an exercise in theoretical mechanics, an extension ofhis work on the rings of Saturn. Neither he nor his contemporaries believed the outcome - that viscosity remains constant over a wide range of density - and there was contrary evidence. Yet more precise measurements confirmed the prediction. 10 Few people were pre pared for such a tum of events. Mathematical curiosity had started the work, cross-fertilization, not general principles, had brought it to a conclusion. Meanwhile the situation has changed in favour of theory. In the sixties and seventies, when science was still in public favour, theory got the upper hand, at universities, where it increasingly replaced professional skills, even in medicine, and in special subjects such as biology or chemistry where earlier morphological and substance related research was replaced by a study of molecules. In cosmology a firm belief in the Big Bang now tends to devalue observations that clash with it. 'Such observations', writes C. Burbidge, are delayed at the rt:fereeing stage as long as possible with the hope that the author will give up. If this does not occur and they are published the second line of defence is to ignore them. If they give rise to some comment, the best approach is to argue simply that they are hopelessly wrong and then, if all else fails, an observer may be
threatened with loss of telescope time until he changes his program. 1 1
9. R.F. Streater and A.S. Wightman, PCT, Spin, Statistics and All Thai, New York, 1 964, p. I . 1 0. For quantum mechanics cf. sections 4. 1 and 4.2 of Hans Primas, Chemistry, Quantum Mechanics and Reduaionism, Berlin-New York, 1 98 1 . Maxwell's calculations are reproduced in The Scientific Papers ofJames Clerk Ma.rJPell, ed. W.D. Niven, New York, 1 965 (first published in 1 890), pp. 377fT. The conclusion is stated on p. 39 1 : 'A remarkable result here presented to us . . . is that if this explanation of gaseous friction he true, the coefficient of friction is independent ofthe density. Such a consequence of a mathematical theory is very stanling, and the only experiment I have met with on the s�hject does not seem to confirm it.' For examples from hydrodynamics cf. G. Btrkhoff, Hydrodynamics, New York, 1 955, sections 20 and 2 1 . I I . 'Problems of Cosmogony and Cosmology', in F . Bertola, j.W. Sulentic and D.F. Madore (eds), New Ideas in Astronomy, Cambridge, 1 988, p. 229.
AGAINST M ETHOD
Thus all we can say is that scientists proceed in many different ways, that rules of method, if mentioned explicitly, are either not obeyed at all, or function at most like rules of thumb and that important results come from the confluence ofachievements produced by separate and often conflicting trends. The idea that ' "scientific" knowledge is in some way peculiarly positive and free from differences of opinion'12 is nothing but a chimaera. The situation in the arts is quite similar - as a matter of fact, it occurs in all areas of human activity. Cennino Cennini's Libro deii'Arte of 1 390 contains practical advice based on a rich experience and complex skills. Leon Battista Alberti's Della Pinura of 1 435/6 is a theoretical treatise closely tied to central perspective and academic optical theory. Perspective soon became a mania among artists. Leonardo and Raphael then pointed out, the one in words, the other practically (cf. the sphere on the right hand side ofhis School ofAthens in the Stanza della Segnatura of the Vatican), that a picture that is to be viewed under normal circumstances, from a comfortable but not well-defined distance and with both eyes wide open cannot obey the rules of central perspective. They thereby clarified the difference between physiological optics and geometrical optics which Kepler, more than a century later, still tried to bridge by an easily refuted hypothesis (cf. Ch. 9, text to footnote 50). But central perspective remained a basis on which various changes were superimposed. So far I have been talking about procedure, or method. Now methods that are not used as a matter of habit, without any thought about the reasons behind them, are often tied to metaphysical beliefs. For example, a radical form of empiricism assumes either that humans are the measure of things or that they are in harmony with them. Applied consistently methodological rules may produce results which agree with the corresponding metaphysics. Luria's procedure is an example. It did not fail; it helped to build a subject which today is at the forefront of research. Einstein's approach did not end in disaster; it led to one of the most fascinating modem theories general relativity. But methods are not restricted to the area where they scored their first triumphs. Luria's requirements, for example, also turned up in cosmology; they had been used by Heber Curtis, in his 'grand debate' with Harlow Shapely; by Ambarzumjan, who opposed empiricism to abstract principles; and they are now being applied by Halton Arp, Margaret Geller and their collaborators. Whatever the results, a world built up in the manner of Luria has 1 2. N.R. Campbell, Foundations ofScimce, New York, 1 957, p. 2 1 .
N I N E T E EN
little in common with the world of Einstein and this world again differs considerably from the world of Bohr. Johann Theodore Merz describes in detail how abstract world-views using cor responding methods produced results which slowly filled them with empirical content. 1 3 He discusses the following views. First, the astronomical view, which rested on mathematical refinements of action at a distance laws and was extended (by Coulomb, Neumann, Ampere and others) to electricity and magnetism. Laplace's theory of capillarity was an outstanding achievement of this approach. Secondly, the atomic view, which played an important role in chemical research (example: stereochemistry) but was also opposed by chemists. Thirdly, the kinetic and mechanical view, which employed atoms in the area ofheat and electric phenomena. For some scientists atomism was the foundation of everything. Fourthly, the physical view, which tried to achieve universality in a different way, on the basis of general notions such as the notion of energy. It could be connected with the kinetic view, but often was not. Physicians, physiologists and chemists like Mayer, Helmholtz, du Bois Reymond and, in the practical area, Liebig were outstanding representatives ofthis view in the second half of the 19th century while Ostwald, Mach and Duhem extended it into the 20th. Starting his description of the morphological view, Merz writes: The different aspects of nature which I have reviewed in the foregoing chapters and the various sciences which have been elaborated by their aid, comprise what may appropriately be termed the abstract study of natural objects and phenomena. Though all the methods of reasoning with which we have so far become acquainted originated primarily through observation and the reflection over things natural, they have this in common that they - for the purpose of examination - remove
their objects out of the position and surroundings which nature has assigned to them: that they abstract them. This process of abstraction is either literally a process of removal from one place to another, from the great work - and storehouse of nature herself to the small workroom, the laboratory of the experimenter; or - where such removal is not possible - the process is carried out merely in the realm of contemplation; one or two special properties are noted and described, whilst the number of collateral data are for the moment disregarded. [A third method, not developed at the time, is the cre ation of 'unnatural' conditions and, thereby, the production of 'unnatural' phenomena.]
13 . A History ofEuropean Thought in the 19th Century (first published 1 904-- 1 2).
AGAINST M ETHOD . . . There is, moreover, in addition to the aspect of convenience,
one very powerful inducement for scientific workers to persevere in their process of abstraction . . . . This is the practical usefulness of such researches in the arts and industries. . . . The wants and creations of artificial life have thus proved the greatest incentives to the abstract and artificial treatment of natural objects and processes for which the chemical and electrical laboratories with the calculating room of the mathematician on the one side and the workshop and factory of the other, have in the course of the century become so renowned . . . . There is, however, in the human mind an opposite interest which fortunately counteracts to a considerable extent the one-sided working of the spirit of abstraction in science . . . . This is the genuine love of nature, the consciousness that we lose all power if, to any great extent, we sever or weaken that connection which ties us to the world as it is - to things real and natural: it finds its expression in the ancient legend of the mighty giant who derived all his strength from his
mother earth and collapsed if severed from her. . . . In the study of natural objects we meet [therefore] with a class of students who are attracted by things as they. . . . [Their] sciences are the truly descriptive sciences, in opposition to the abstract ones. 1 4
I have quoted this description at length for it shows how different procedures rest on and provide evidence for, different world-views. Finally, Merz mentions the genetic view, the psychophysical view, the vitalistic view, the statistical view together with their procedures and their findings. What can a single comprehensive 'world-view of science' or a single comprehensive idea of science offer under such circumstances? It can offer a survey, a list similar to the list given by Merz, enumerating the achievements and drawbacks of the various approaches as well as the clashes between them and it can identify science with this complex and somewhat scattered wars on many fronts. Alternatively it can put one view on top and subordinate the others to it, either by pseudo-derivations, or by declaring them to be meaningless. Reductionists love to play that game. Or it can disregard the differences and present a paste job where each particular view and the results it has achieved is smoothly connected with the rest thus producing an impressive and coherent edifice 'the' scientific world-view. 1 4. Ibid., Vol. 2, New York, 1 965, pp. 200f.
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Expressing it differently we may say that the assumption of a single coherent world-view that underlies all of science is either a metaphysical hypothesis trying to anticipate a future unity, or a pedagogical fake; or it is an attempt to show, by a judicious up- and downgrading of disciplines, that a synthesis has already been achieved. This is how fans of uniformity proceeded in the past (cf. Plato's list of subjects in Chapter vii of his Republic), these are the ways that are still being used today. A more realistic account, however, would point out that ' [ t]here is no simple "scientific" map of reality - or if there were, it would be much too complicated and unwieldy to be grasped or used by anyone. But there are many different maps of reality, from a variety of scientific viewpoints'. 1 5 It may be objected that we live in the 20th century, not in the 19th, and that many unifications which seemed impossible then have been achieved by now. Examples are statistical thermodynamics, molecu lar biology, quantum chemistry and superstrings. These are indeed flourishing subjects, but they have not produced the unity the phrase 'the' scientific view of the world insinuates. Actually, the situation is not very different from that which Merz had noticed in the 19th century. Truesdell and others continue the physical approach: Prandtl maligned Euler, Truesdell praises him for having provided rigorous concepts for research. Morphology, though given a low status by some and declared to be dead by others, has been revived by ecologists and by Lorenz's study of animal behaviour (which added forms of motion to the older static forms) and it has always been of importance in galactic research (Hubble's classification). Having been in the doghouse, cosmology is now being courted by high energy physicists but clashes with the philosophy of complementarity accepted by the same group. Commenting on the problem M. Kafatos and R. Nadeu write: The essential requirement of the Copenhagen interpretation that the experimental setup must be taken into account when making observations is seldom met in observations with cosmological import [though such observations rely on light, the paradigm case of
comp lementarity] . 1 6
Moreover, the observations of Arp, M. Geller and others have 1 5. John Ziman, Teaching and Learning About Science and Society , Cambridge, 1 980, p. l 9. 1 6. 'Complementarity and Cosmology', in M. Kafatos (ed.), Bell's Theorem, Quantum Theory and the Conceptions ofthe Unrome, Dordrecht, 1 980, p. 263.
thrown considerable doubt on the homogeneity assumption which plays a central role in it. Extended to 1 ,000 megaparsec, Geller's research may blow up the entire subject. We have a rabid materialism in some parts (molecular biology, for example), a modest to radical subjectivism in others (some versions of quantum measurement, anthropic principle). There are many fascinating results, specula tions, attempts at interpretation and it is certainly worth knowing them. But pasting them together into a single coherent 'scientific' world-view, a procedure which has the blessings even of the Pope 1 7 - this is going too far. After all, who can say that the world which so strenuously resists unification really is as educators and meta physicians want it to be - tidy, uniform, the same everywhere? Besides, as was shown in Chapters 3 ff, a paste job eliminates precisely those conflicts that kept science going in the past and will continue inspiring its practitioners if preserved. At this point some defenders of uniformity rise to a higher level. Science may be complex, they say, but it is still 'rational'. Now the word 'rational' can either be used as a collecting bag for a variety of procedures - this would be its nominalist interpretation - or it describes a general feature found in every single scientific action. I accept the first definition, but I reject the second. In the second case rationality is either defined in a narrow way that excludes, say, the arts; then it also excludes large sections of the sciences. Or it is defined in a way that lets all of science survive; then it also applies to love-making, comedy and dogfights. There is no way of delimiting 'science' by something stronger and more coherent than a list. I come to the second question - what's so great about science? There are various measures of greatness. Popularity, i.e. familiarity with some results and the belief that they are important, is one of them. Now it is true that despite periodic swings towards the sciences and away from them they are still in high repute with the general public or, rather, not the sciences, but a mythical monster 'science' (in the singular - in German it sounds even more impressive: Die Wissenschaft). For what the general public seems to assume is that the achievements they read about in the educational pages of their newspapers and the threats they seem to perceive come from a single source and are produced by a uniform procedure. They know that biology is different from physics which is different from geology. But 1 7. Cf. his message on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Newton's Principia, published in John Paul l/ on Science and Religion, Notre Dame, 1 990, esp. M6ff.
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these disciplines, it is assumed, arise when 'the scientific way' is applied to different topics; the scientific way itself, however, remains the same. I have tried to argue that scientific practice is much more diverse. Adding that scientists keep complaining about the scientific illiteracy of the general public and that by the 'general public' they mean the Western middle class, not Bolivian peasants (for example), we have to conclude that the popularity of science is a very doubtful matter indeed. What about practical advantages? The answer is that 'science' sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. Some sciences (economic theory, for example) are in a pretty sorry shape. Others are sufficiently mobile to tum disaster into triumph. The can do so because they are not tied to any particular method or world-view. The fact that an approach is 'scientific' according to some clearly formulated criterion therefore is no guarantee that it will succeed. Each case must bejudged separately, especially today, when the fear ofindustrial espionage, the wish to overtake competitors on the way to a Nobel Prize, the uneven distribution of funds, national rivalries, fear of accusations (of malpractice, plagiarism, waste of funds, etc.) put restrictions on what some dreamers, many philoso�hers among them, still regard as a 'free intellectual adventure'. 8 The question of truth, finally, remains unresolved. Love of truth is one of the strongest motives for replacing what really happens by a streamlined account, or, to express it in a less polite manner, love of truth is one of the strongest motives for lying to oneself and to others. Besides, the quantum theory seems to show, in the precise manner so much beloved by the admirers of science, that reality is either one, which means there are no observers and no things observed, or it is many, in which case what is found does not exist in itself but depends on the approach chosen. What are the views that are being compared with science when it is declared to be superior? E.O. Wilson, the 'father' of sociobiology, writes: religion
. . will endure for a long time as a vital force in society. Like .
the mythical giant Antaeus who drew energy from his mother, the
earth, religion cannot be de feated by those who may cast it down. The spiritual weakness of scientific naturalism is due to the fact that it has no such primal source of power. . . . So the time has come to ask: does
18. This was realized by government advisers after the postwar euphoria had worn off. See joseph Ben-David, Scientific Growth, Berkeley, 1 99 1 , p. 525, quoted above.
a way exist to divert the power of religion into the services of the great
new enterprise? 1 9
For Wilson the main feature of the alternatives is that they have
power. I regard this as a somewhat narrow characterization. World views also answer questions about origins and purposes which sooner or later arise in almost every human being. Answers to these questions were available to Kepler and Newton and were used by them in their research; they are no longer available today, at least not within the sciences. They are part of non-scientific world-views which therefore have much to offer, also to scientists. When Western Civilization invaded what is now called the Third World it imposed its own ideas of a proper environment and a rewarding life. It thereby disrupted delicate patterns of adaptation and created problems that had not existed before. Both human decency and some appreciation of the many ways in which humans can live with nature prompted agents of development and public health to think in more complex or, as some would say, more 'relativistic' ways. There exist approaches, the approach called 'Primary environmental Care' among them, which offer legal, political and scientific information but modified in accordance with the needs, the wishes and, what is most important, the skills and the knowledge of local populations. 20 Similarly, the movement called liberation theology has modified Church doctrine to bring it closer to the spiritual needs of the poor and disadvantaged, especially in South America. Let me point out, incidentally, that not all ideas which seem repulsive to the prophets of a New Age come from science. The idea of a world machine and the related idea that nature is material to be shaped by man should not be blamed on modern, i.e. post-Cartesian, science. It is older and stronger than a purely philosophical doctrine could ever be. The expression 'world machine' is found in Pseudo Dionysius Areopagita, a mystic of unknown identity who wrote about 500 AD and had tremendous influence. Oresme, who died in 1 3 82 as bishop of Lisieux, compares the universe to a vast mechanical clock set running by God so that 'all the wheels move as harmoniously as possible'. The sentiment can be easily understood: 19. On Human Nature, Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 192f. 20. Lessons Learned in Community-Based Environmental Management, Proceedings ofthe 1990 Primary Environmental Care Workshop, ed. Grazia Borrini, International Course for Primary Health Care Managers at District Level in Developing Countries, Istituto Superiore di Sanita, Rome, 199 1 . For a more popular presentation cf. Grazia Borrini, 'Primary Environmental Care: For Environmental Advocates and Policy Makers', UNESCO Courier, forthcoming.
this was the time when mechanical clocks 'of astounding intricacy and elaboration' were constructed all over Europe - every town was supposed to have one. Lynn White Jr., from whose book I have taken this information, also describes the change of attitude that occurred in the Carolingian Age: The old Roman Calendars had occasionally shown genre scenes of human activity but the dominant tradition (which continued in Byzantium) was to depict the months as passive personifications being symbols of attributes. The new Carolingian calendar which set the pattern for the Middle Ages . . . shows a coercive attitude towards natural resources . . . . The pictures [are about] scenes of ploughing, harvesting, woodchopping; people knocking down acorns for the pigs, pig slaughtering. Man and Nature are now two things and man is the 2 master. 1
To sum up: there is no 'scientific world-view' just as there is no uniform enterprise 'science' - except in the minds of metaphysicians, schoolmasters and politicians trying to make their nation competi tive. Still, there are many things we can learn from the sciences. But we can also learn from the humanities, from religion and from the remnants of ancient traditions that survived the onslaught ofW estern Civilization. No area is unified and perfect, few areas are repulsive and completely without merit. There is no objective principle that could direct us away from the supermarket 'religion' or the supermarket 'art' towards the more modem, and much more expensive supermarket 'science' . Besides, there are large areas of knowledge and action in which we use procedures without any idea as to their comparative excellence. An example is medicine, which, though not a science, has increasingly been connected with scientific research. There are many fashions and schools in medicine just as there are many fashions and schools in psychology. It follows, first, the idea of a comparison of 'Western medicine' with other medical procedures does not make sense. Secondly, such a comparison is often against the law, even if there should be volunteers: a test is legally impossible. Adding to this that health and sickness are culture-dependent concepts we see that there are domains, such as medicine with no scientific answer to question 2. This is not really a drawback. The search for objective guidance is in conflict with the idea of individual responsibility which allegedly is an important 2 1 . Mediaeval Technology and Social Change, Oxford, 1 960, pp. 56f.
ingredient o f a 'rational' or scientific age. It shows fear, indecision, a yearning for authority and a disregard for the new opportunities that now exist: we can build world-views on the basis of a personal choice and thus unite, for ourselves and for our friends, what was once separated by a series of historical accidents. 22 On the other hand, we can agree that in a world full of scientific products scientists may be given a special status just as henchmen had a special status at times of social disorder or priests had when being a citizen coincided with being the member of a single universal Church. We can also agree that appealing to a chimaera (such as that of a uniform and coherent 'scientific world-view') can have important political consequences. In 1 854 Commander Perry, using force, opened the ports of Hakodate and Shimoda to American ships for supply and trade. This event demonstrated the military inferiority of Japan. The members of the Japanese enlightenment of the early 1 870s, Fukuzawa among them, now reasoned as follows. Japan can keep its independence only if it becomes stronger. It can become stronger only with the help of science. It will use science effectively only if it does not just practise science but also believes in the underlying ideology. To many traditional Japanese this ideology 'the' scientific world-view - was barbaric. But, so the followers of Fukuzawa argued, it was necessary to adopt barbaric ways, to regard them as advanced, to introduce the whole of Western Civilization in order to survive. 23 Having been thus prepared Japanese scientists soon branched out as their Western colleagues had done before and falsified the uniform ideology that had started the development. The lesson I draw from this sequence of events is that a uniform 'scientific view of the world' may be useful.forpeople doing science - it gives them motivation without tying them down. It is like a flag. Though presenting a single pattern it makes people do many different things. However, it is a disaster for outsiders (philosophers, fly-by-night mystics, prophets of a New Age). It suggests to them the most narrowminded religious commitment and encourages a similar narrowmindedness on their part. 22. Wolfgang Pauli, who was deeply concerned about the intellectual situation of the time, demanded that science and religion again be united: letter to M. Fierz, 8 August 1 948. I agree hut would add, entirely in the spirit of Pauli, that the unification should be a personal matter; it should not be prepared by philosophical-scientific alchemists ofthe mind and imposed by their minions in education. (It is different in the Third World where a strong faith still survives.) 23. Details in Cannen Blacker, TheJapaneseEnlightmment, Cambridge, 1969. For the political background cf. Chapters 3 and 4 of Richard Storry, A History ofModem Japan, Hannondsworth, 1982.
What I have said so far already contains my answer to question 3 : a community will use science and scientists in a way that agrees with its values and aims and it will correct the scientific institutions in its midst to bring them closer to these aims. The objection that science is self-correcting and thus needs no outside interference overlooks, first, that every enterprise is self-correcting (look at what happened to the Catholic Church after Vatican II) and, secondly, that in a democracy the self-correction of the whole which tries to achieve more humane ways ofliving overrules the self-correction of the parts which has a more narrow aim - unless the parts are given temporary independence. Hence in a democracy local populations not only will, but also should, use the sciences in ways most suitable to them. The objection that citizens do not have the expertise to judge scientific matters overlooks that important problems often lie across the boundaries ofvarious sciences so that scientists within these sciences don't have the needed expertise either. Moreover, doubtful cases always produce experts for the one side, experts for the other side, and experts in between. But the competence of the general public could be vastly improved by an education that exposes expert fallibility instead of acting as if it did not exist.
20 Thepoint ofview underlying this book is not the result ofa well-planned train ofthought but ofarguments prompted by accidental encounters. Anger at the wanton destruaion of cultural achievements from which we all could have learned, at the conceited assurance with which some intelleauals interfere with the lives ofpeople, and contempt for the treacly phrases they use to embellish their misdeeds was and still is the motiveforce behind my work.
The problem ofknowledge and education in a free society first struck me during my tenure of a state fellowship at the Weimar lnstitut zur Methodologischen Emeuerung des Deutschen Theaters ( 1 946), which was a continuation of the Deutsches Theater Moskau under the directorship ofMaxim Vallentin. Staff and students of the lnstitut periodically visited theatres in Eastern Germany. 1 A special train I . Like many people ofmy generation I was involved in the Second World War. This event had little influence on my thinking. For me the war was a nuisance, not a moral problem. Before the war I had intended to study astronomy, acting and singing and to practise these professions simultaneously. I had excellent teachers (Adolf Vogel, my singing teacher, had an international reputation and taught outstanding opera singers such as Norman Bayley) and had just overcome some major vocal difficulties when I received my draft notice (I was eighteen at the time). How inconvenient, I thought. Why the hell should I participate in the war games ofa bunch ofidiots? How do I get out ofit? Various attempts misfired and I became a soldier. I applied for officers' training to avoid bullets as long as possible. The attempt was not entirely successful; I was a lieutenant before the war had come to an end and found myselfin the middle ofthe German retreat in Poland and then in East Germany, surrounded by fleeing civilians, infantry units, tanks, Polish auxiliaries whom I suddenly commanded (the higher officers quickly disappeared when matters became sticky). The whole colourful chaos then appeared to me like a stage and I became careless. A bullet hit me on my right hand, a second bullet grazed my face, a third got stuck in my spine, I fell to the ground, unable to rise, but with the happy thought 'the war is over for me, now at last I can return to singing and my beloved astronomy books'. It was only much later that I became aware of the moral problems ofthe entire age. It seems to me that these problems are still with us. They arise whenever an individual or a group objectivizes its own personal conceptions of a good life and acts accordingly. Cf. Farewell to Reason, pp. 309fT. This explains the occasional violence of my arguments.
brought us from city to city. We arrived, dined, talked to the actors, watched two or three plays. After each performance the public was asked to remain seated while we started a discussion of what we had just seen. There were classical plays, but there were also new plays which tried to analyse recent events. Most of the time they dealt with the work of the resistance in Nazi Germany. They were indistin guishable from earlier Nazi plays eulogizing the activity of the Nazi underground in democratic countries. In both cases there were ideological speeches, outbursts of sincerity and dangerous situations in the cops and robbers tradition. This puzzled me and I commented on it in the debates: how should a play be structured so that one recognizes it as presenting the 'good side'? What has to be added to the action to make the struggle of the resistance fighter appear morally superior to the struggle of an illegal Nazi in Austria before 1938? It is not sufficient to give him the 'right slogans' for then we take his superiority for granted, we do not show wherein it consists. Nor can his nobility, his 'humanity' be the distinguishing mark; every movement has scoundrels as well as noble people among its followers. A playwright may of course decide that sophistication is luxury in moral battles and give a black-white account. He may lead his followers to victory but at the expense of turning them into barbarians. What, then, is the solution? At the time I opted for Eisenstein and ruthless propaganda for the 'right cause'. I don't know whether this was because ofany deep conviction ofmine, or because I was carried along by events, or because of the magnificent art of Eisenstein. Today I would say that the choice must be left to the audience. The playwright presents characters and tells a story. If he errs it should be on the side of sympathy for his scoundrels, for circumstances and suffering play as large a role in the creation of evil and evil intentions as do those intentions themselves, and the general tendency is to emphasize the latter. The playwright (and his colleague, the teacher) must not try to anticipate the decision of the audience (of the pupils) or replace it by a decision of his own if they should tum out to be incapable of making up their own minds. Under no circumstances must he try to be a 'moral force '. A moral force, whether for good or for evil, turns people into slaves and slavery, even slavery in the service of The Good, or of God Himself, is the most abject condition of all. This is how I see the situation today. However, it took me a long time before I arrived at this view . After a year in Weimar I wanted to add the sciences and the humanities to the arts, and the theatre. I left Weimar and became a student (history, auxiliary sciences) at the famous lnstitut fur
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Osterreichische Geschichtforschung which is part of the University of Vienna. Later on I added physics and astronomy and so finally returned to the subjects I had decided to pursue before the interruptions of the Second World War. There were the following 'influences'. (1) The Kraft Circle. Many of us science and engineering students were interested in the foundations of science and in broader philosophical problems. We visited philosophy lectures. The lectures bored us and we were soon thrown out because we asked questions and made sarcastic remarks. I still remember Professor Heintel advising me with raised arms: 'Herr Feyerabend, entweder sie halten das Maul, oder sie verlassen den Vorlesungsaal!' We did not give up and founded a philosophy club of our own. Victor Kraft, one of my teachers, became our chairman. The members of the club were mostly students, 2 but there were also visits by faculty members and foreign dignitaries. Juhos, Heintel, Hollitscher, von Wright, Anscombe, Wittgenstein came to our meetings and debated with us. Wittgenstein, who took a long time to make up his mind and then appeared over an hour late, gave a spirited performance and seemed to prefer our disrespectful attitude to the fawning admiration he encountered elsewhere. Our discussions started in 1949 and proceeded with interruptions up to 1952 (or 1953). Almost the whole of my thesis was presented and analysed at the meetings and some of my early papers are a direct outcome of these debates. (2) The Kraft Circle was part of an organization called the Austrian College Society. The Society had been founded in 1945 by Austrian resistance fighters3 to provide a forum for the exchange of scholars and ideas and so to prepare the political unification of Europe. There were seminars, like the Kraft Circle, during the academic year and international meetings during the summer. The meetings took place (and still take place) in Alpbach, a small mountain village in Tirol. Here I met outstanding scholars, artists, politicians and I owe my academic career to the friendly help of some of them. I also began suspecting that what counts in a public debate are not arguments but 2. Many of them have now become scientists or engineers. Johnny Sagan is Professor of Mathematics at the University of I llinois, Henrich Eichhorn director of New Haven observatory, Goldberger-de Buda adviser to electronic finns, while Erich jantsch, who died much too soon, met members of our circle at the astronomical observatory and later became a guru of dissident or pseudo-dissident scientists, trying to use old traditions for new purposes. 3. Otto Molden, brother of Fritz Molden of the Molden publishing house, was for many years the dynamic leader and organizer.
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certain ways of presenting one's case. To test the suspicion I intervened in the debates defending absurd views with great assurance. I was consumed by fear - after all, I was just a student surrounded by bigshots - but having once attended an acting school I proved the case to my satisfaction. The difficulties of scientific rationality were made very clear by (3) Felix Ehrenhaft, who arrived in Vienna in 1 947. We, the students of physics, mathematics, astronomy, had heard a lot about him We knew that he was an excellent experimenter and that his lectures were performances on a grand scale which his assistants had to prepare for hours in advance. We knew that he had taught theoretical physics which was as exceptional for an experimentalist then as it is now. We were also familiar with the persistent rumours that denounced him as a charlatan. Regarding ourselves as defenders of the purity of physics we looked forward to exposing him in public. At any rate our curiosity was aroused - and we were not disappointed. Ehrenhaft was a mountain of a man, full of vitality and unusual ideas. His lectures compared favourably (or unfavourably, depend ing on the point of view) with the more refined performances of his colleagues. 'Are you dumb? Are you stupid? Do you really agree with everything I say?' he shouted at us who had intended to expose him but sat in silent astonishment at his performance. The question was more than justified for there were large chunks to swallow. Relativity and quantum theory were rejected at once, and almost as a matter of course, for being idle speculation. In this respect Ehrenhaft' s attitude was very close to that of Stark and Lenard both of whom he mentioned with approval. But he went further and criticized the foundations of classical physics as well. The first thing to be removed was the law of inertia: undisturbed objects instead of going in a straight line were supposed to move in a helix. Then came a sustained attack on the principles of electromagnetic theory and especially on the equation div B 0. Many years before the fundamental debate he produced convincing evidence for mesoscopic magnetic monopoles. Then new and surprising properties of light were demonstrated - and so on and so forth. Each demonstration was accompanied by a few gently ironical remarks on 'school physics' and the 'theoreticians' who built castles in the air without considering the experiments which Ehrenhaft devised and continued devising in all fields and which produced a plethora of inexplicable results. We had soon an opportunity to witness the attitude of orthodox physicists. In 1 949 Ehrenhaft came to Alpbach. In that year Popper conducted a seminar on philosophy, Rosenfeld and M.H.L. Pryce taught physics and philosophy of physics (mainly from Bohr's .
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comments on Einstein which had just appeared), Max Hartmann biology, Duncan Sandys talked on problems of British politics, Hayek on economics and so on. There was Hans Thirring, the senior theoretical physicist from Vienna, a superb teacher who constantly tried to impress on us that there were more important things than science, who had taught physics to Feigl, Popper as well as the present author and was an early and very active member of the peace movement. His son Walter Thirring, now Professor of Theoretical Physics in Vienna, was also present - a very distinguished audience and a very critical one. Ehrenhaft came well prepared. He set up a few of his simple experiments in one of the country houses of Alpbach and invited everyone he could lay hands on to have a look. Every day from two or three in the afternoon participants went by in an attitude of wonder and left the building (if they were theoretical physicists, that is) as if they had seen something obscene. Apart from these physical preparations Ehrenhaft also carried out, as was his habit, a beautiful piece of advertising. The day before his lecture he attended a fairly technical talk by von Hayek on 'The Sensory Order' (now available, in expanded form, as a book). During the discussion he rose, bewilderment and respect in his face, and started in a most innocent voice: 'Dear Professor Hayek. This was a marvellous, an admirable, a most learned lecture. I did not understand a single word. . . . ' Next day his lecture had an overflow audience. In this lecture Ehrenhaft gave a brief account of his discoveries, adding general observations on the state of physics. 'Now, gentlemen,' he concluded triumphantly, turning to Rosenfeld and Pryce who sat in the front row, 'what can you say?' And he answered immediately. 'There is nothing at all you can say with all your fine theories. Sitzen miissen sie bleiben! Still miissen sie sein!' The discussion, as was to be expected, was quite turbulent and it was continued for days with Thirring and Popper taking Ehrenhaft's side against Rosenfeld and Pryce. Confronted with the experiments the latter occasionally acted as some of Galileo's opponents must have acted when confronted with the telescope. They pointed out that no conclusions could be drawn from complex phenomena and that a detailed analysis was needed. In short, the phenomena were a Dreckeffea - a word that was heard quite frequently in the arguments. What was our attitude in the face of all this commotion? None of us was prepared to give up theory or to deny its excellence. We founded a Club for the Salvation of Theoretical Physics and started discussing simple experiments. It turned out that the relation between theory and experiment was much more complex than is
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shown in textbooks and even in research papers. There are a few paradigmatic cases where the theory can be applied without major adjustments but the rest must be dealt with by occasionally rather doubtful approximations and auxiliary assumptions. 4 I find it interesting to remember how little effect all this had on us at the time. We continued to prefer abstractions as if the difficulties we had found had not been an expression ofthe nature of things but could be removed by some ingenious device, yet to be discovered. Only much later did Ehrenhaft's lesson sink in and our attitude at the time as well as the attitude of the entire profession provided me then with an excellent illustration of the nature of scientific rationality. (4) Philipp Frank came to Alpbach a few years after Ehrenhaft. He undermined common ideas of rationality in a different way by showing that the arguments against Copernicus had been perfectly sound and in agreement with experience while Gailieo's procedures were 'unscientific' when viewed from a modem standpoint. His observations fascinated me and I examined the matter further. Chapters 8 to 1 1 are a late result of this study (I am a slow worker). Frank's work has been treated quite unfairly by philosophers like Putnam who prefer simplistic models to the analysis of complex historical events. Also his ideas are now commonplace. But it was he who announced them when almost everyone thought differently. (5) In Vienna I became acquainted with some of the foremost Marxist intellectuals. This was the result of an ingenious PR job by Marxist students. They turned up - as did we - at all major discussions whether the subject was science, religion, politics, the theatre, or free love. They talked to those of us who used science to ridicule the rest - which was then my favourite occupation - invited us to discussions of their own and introduced us to Marxist thinkers from all fields. I came to know Berthold Viertel, the director of the Burgtheater, Hanns Eisler, the composer and music theoretician, and Walter Hollitscher, who became a teacher and, later on, one of my best friends. When starting to discuss with Hollitscher I was a raving positivist, I favoured strict rules of research and had only a pitying smile for the three basic principles of dialectics which I had read in Stalin's little pamphlet on dialectical and historical materialism. I was interested in the realist position, I had tried to read every book on realism I could lay hands on (including Kiilpe's excellent Realisierung and, of course, Materialism and Empiriocriticism) but I found that the arguments for realism worked only when the realist assumption had
4. Cf. Chapter 5 on ad hoc approximations.
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already been introduced. Kiilpe, for example, emphasized the distinction between impression and the thing the impression is about. The distinction gives us realism only if it characterizes real features of the world - which is the point at issue. Nor was I convinced by the remark that science is an essentially realistic enterprise. Why should science be chosen as an authority? And were there not positivistic interpretations of science? The so-called 'paradoxes' of positivism, however, which Lenin exposed with such consummate skill, did not impress me at all. They arose only if the positivist and the realist mode of speech were mixed and they exposed their difference. They did not show that realism was better though the fact that realism came with common sense gave the impression that it was. Hollitscher never presented an argument that would lead, step by step, from positivism into realism and he would have regarded the attempt to produce such an argument as philosophical folly. He rather developed the realist position itself, illustrated it by examples from science and common sense, showed how closely it was connected with scientific research and everyday action and so revealed its strength. It was of course always possible to tum a realistic procedure into a positivistic procedure by a judicious use of ad hoc hypotheses and ad hoc meaning changes and I did this frequently, and without shame (in the Kraft Circle we had developed such evasions into a fine art). Hollitscher did not raise semantic points, or points of method, as a critical rationalist might have done, he continued to discuss concrete cases until I felt rather foolish with my abstract objections. For I saw now how closely realism was connected with facts, procedures, principles I valued and that it had helped to bring them about while positivism merely described the results in a rather complicated way after they had been found: realism had fruits, positivism had none. This at least is how I would speak today, long after my realist conversion. At the time I became a realist not because I was convinced by any particular argument, but because the sum total of realism plus the arguments in favour of it plus the ease with which it could be applied to science and many other things I vaguely felt but could not lay a finger on 5 finally looked better to me 5. I remember that Reichenbach's answer to Dingler's account of relativity played an important part: Dingler extrapolated from what could be achieved by simple mechanical operations (manufacture of a Euclidean plain surface, for example) while Reichenbach pointed out how the actual structure of the world would modify the results of these operations in the large. It is ofcourse true that Reichenbach's account can be interpreted as a more efficient predictive machine and that it seemed impressive to me only because I did not slide into such an interpretation. Which shows to what extent the force ofarguments depends on irrational changes of attitude.
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than the sum total of positivism plus the arguments one could offer for it plus . . . etc., etc. The comparison and the final decision had much in common with the comparison of life in different countries (weather, character of people, melodiousness of language, food, laws, institutions, weather, etc., etc.) and the final decision to take a job and to start life in one of them. Experiences such as these have played a decisive role in my attitude towards rationalism. While I accepted realism I did not accept dialectics and historical materialism - my predilection for abstract arguments (another positivist hangover) was still too strong for that. Today Stalin's rules seem to me preferable by far to the complicated and epicycle-ridden standards of our modem friends of reason. From the very beginning of our discussion Hollitscher made it clear that he was a communist and that he would try to convince me of the intellectual and social advantages of dialectical and historical materialism. There was none of the mealy-mouthed 'I may be wrong, you may be right - but together we shall find the truth' talk with which 'critical' rationalists embroider their attempts at indoctrination but which they forget the moment their position is seriously endangered. Nor did Hollitscher use unfair emotional or intellectual pressures. Of course, he criticized my attitude but our personal relations have not suffered from my reluctance to follow him in every respect. This is why Walter Hollitscher is a teacher while Popper, whom I also came to know quite well, is a mere propagandist. At some point of our acquaintance Hollitscher asked me whether I would like to become a production assistant of Brecht - apparently there was a position available and I was being considered for it. I declined. For a while I thought that this was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Enriching and changing knowledge, emotions, attitudes through the arts now seems to me a much more fruitful enterprise and also much more humane than the attempt to influence minds (and nothing else) by words (and nothing else). Reading about the tensions inside the Brecht Circle, the almost religious attitude of some of its members, I now think that I escaped just in time. (6) During a lecture (on Descartes) I gave at the Austrian College Society I met Elizabeth Anscombe, a powerful and, to some people, forbidding British philosopher who had come to Vienna to learn German for her translation of Wittgenstein's works. She gave me manuscripts ofWittgenstein's later writings and discussed them with me. The discussions extended over months and occasionally proceeded from morning over lunch until late into the evening. They had a profound influence upon me though it is not at all easy to specify particulars. On one occasion which I remember vividly
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Anscombe, by a series of skilful questions, made me see how our conception (and even our perceptions) ofwell-defined and apparently self-contained facts may depend on circumstances not apparent in them. There are entities such as physical objects which obey a 'conservation principle' in the sense that they retain their identity through a variety ofmanifestations and even when they are not present at all while other entities such as pains and after-images are 'annihilated' with their disappearance. The conservation principles may change from one developmental stage of the human organism to another6 and they may be different for differentlanguages (cf. Whorfs 'covert classifications' as described in Chapter 1 6). I conjectured that such principles would play an important role in science, that they might change during revolutions and that deductive relations between pre revolutionary and post-revolutionary theories might be broken off as a result. I explained this early version ofincommensurability in Popper's seminar (1 952) and to a small group of people in Anscombe's flat in Oxford (also in 1 952 with Geach, von Wright and L.L. Hart present) but I was not able to arouse much enthusiasm on either occasion. Wittgenstein's emphasis on the need for concrete research and his objections to abstract reasoning ('Look, don't think!') somewhat clashed with my own tendency towards abstractness and the papers in which his influence is noticeable are therefore mixtures of concrete examples and sweeping principles. 7 Wittgenstein was prepared to take me on as a student in Cambridge but he died before I arrived. Popper became my supervisor instead. (7) I had met Popper in Alpbach in 1 948. I admired his freedom of manners, his cheek, his disrespectful attitude towards the German philosophers who gave the proceedings weight in more senses than one, his sense of humour (yes, the relatively unknown Karl Popper of 1 948 was very different from the established Sir Karl of later years) and I also admired his ability to restate ponderous problems in simple and journalistic language. Here was a free mind, joyfully putting forth his ideas, unconcerned about the reaction of the 'professionals.' Things were different as regards these ideas themselves. The members of our circle knew deductivism from Kraft who had written about it before Popper, 8 the falsificationist philosophy was taken for 6. Cf. Chapter 1 6, text to footnotes 1 2fT. 7. For details cf. my comments on these papers in Der Wissenschafistheoretische Realismus und die A utoritat der Wissenschafien, Vieweg Wieshaden, 1 978. 8. Cf. my review of Kraft's Erkenntnislehre in BJPS, Vol. 1 3 , 1 963, pp. 3 1 9fT. and esp. p. 32 1 , second paragraph. Cf. also the references in Popper, Logic of Scientific Discuvery. Mill's System ofLogic, Vol. 2, London, 1879, Chapter 1 4, gives a detailed account of the procedure.
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granted in the physics seminar of the conference under the chairmanship of Arthur March and so we did not understand what all the fuss was about. 'Philosophy must be in a desperate state', we said, 'if trivialities such as these can count as major discoveries.' Popper himself did not seem to think too much of his philosophy of science at the time for when asked to send us a list of publications he included the Open Society but not the Logic ofScientific Discovery. While in London I read Wittgenstein's Philosophical lrrvestigations in detail. Being of a rather pedantic tum of mind I rewrote the book so that it looked more like a treatise with a continuous argument. Part of this treatise was translated by Anscombe into English and published as a review by Philosophical Review in 1 955. I also visited Popper's seminar at the LSE. Popper's ideas were similar to those of Wittgenstein but they were more abstract and anaemic. This did not deter me but increased my own tendencies to abstraction and dogmatism. At the end of my stay in London Popper invited me to become his assistant. I declined despite the fact that I was broke and did not know where my next meal was going to come from. My decision was not based on any clearly recogniz able train of thought but I guess that having no fixed philosophy I preferred stumbling around in the world of ideas at my own speed to being guided by the ritual of a 'rational debate'. Again I was lucky. Joseph Agassi who got the job did not have much privacy. Two years later Popper, Schrooinger and my own big mouth got me a job in Bristol where I started lecturing on the philosophy of science. (8) I had studied theatre, history, mathematics, physics and astronomy; I had never studied philosophy. The prospect of having to address a large audience of eager young people did not exactly fill my heart with joy. One week before the lectures started I sat down and wrote everything I knew on a piece of paper. It hardly filled a page. Agassi came up with some excellent advice: 'Look, Paul,' he said, 'the first line, this is your first lecture; the second line, this is your second lecture - and so on.' I took his advice and fared rather well except that my lectures became a stale collection of wisecracks from Wittgenstein, Bohr, Popper, Dingler, Eddington and others. While in Bristol I continued my studies of the quantum theory. I found that important physical principles rested on methodological assumptions that are violated whenever physics advances: physics gets authority from ideas it propagates but never obeys in actual research, methodologists play the role of publicity agents whom physicists hire to praise their results but whom they would not permit access to the enterprise itself. That falsificationism is not a solution became very
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clear in discussions with David Bohm who gave a Hegelian account of the relation between theories, their evidence, and their successors. 9 The material of Chapter 3 is the result of these discussions (I first published it in 1 961). 1° Kuhn's remarks on the omnipresence of anomalies fitted these difficulties rather nicely 1 1 but I still tried to find general rules that would cover all cases 1 2 and non-scientific developments as well. 1 3 Two events made me realize the futility of such attempts. One was a discussion with Professor C.F. von Weizsacker in Hamburg (1 965) on the foundations of the quantum theory. Von Weizsacker showed how quantum mechanics arose from concrete research while I complained, on general methodological grounds, that important alternatives had been omitted. The arguments supporting my complaint were quite good they are the arguments summarized in Chapter 3 - but it was suddenly clear to me that imposed without regard to circumstances they were a hindrance rather than a help: a person trying to solve a problem whether in science or elsewhere must be given complete freedom and cannot be restricted by any demands, norms, however plausible they may seem to the logician or the philosopher who has thought them out in the privacy of his study. Norms and demands must be checked hi research, not by appeal to theories of rationality. In a lengthy article 4 I explained how Bohr had used this philosophy and how it differs from more abstract procedures. Thus Professor von Weizsacker has prime responsibility for my change to 'anarchism' - though he was not at all pleased when I told him so in 1 977.
9. I have explained the Hegelianism ofBohm in the essay 'Against Method' which appeared in Vol. 4 of the Minnesota Studies for the Philosophy ofScience, 1970. I 0. Popper once remarked (in a discussion at the Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science in the year 1 962) that the example of Brownian motion is just another version of Duhem's example (conflict between specific laws such as Kepler's laws and general theories such as Newton's theory). But there is a most important difference. The deviations from Kepler's laws are in principle observable ('in principle' meaning 'given the known laws of nature') while the microscopic deviations from the second law of thermodynamics are not (measuring instruments are subjected to the same fluctuations as the things they are supposed to measure). Here we cannot do without an alternative theory. Cf. Chapter 4, fn. 2. I I . I read Kuhn's book in manuscript in 1 960 and discussed it extensively with Kuhn. 1 2. Cf. the account in 'Reply to Criticism', Boston Studies, Vol. 2, 1 965. 13. Cf. 'On the Improvement of the Sciences and the Arts and the Possible Identity of the Two' in Boston Studies, Vol. 3, 1 967. 1 4. 'On a Recent Critique of Complementarity', Philosophy of Science 1 968/69 (two parts).
(9) The second event that prompted me to move away from rationalism and to become suspicious of all intellectual pretensions was quite different. To explain it, let me start with some general observations. The way in which social problems, problems of energy distribution, ecology, education, care for the old and so on are 'solved' in First World societies can be roughly described in the following way. A problem arises. Nothing is done about it. People get concerned. Politicians broadcast this concern. Experts are called in. They develop theories and plans based on them. Power-groups with experts of their own effectvarious modifications until a watered down version is accepted and realized. The role of experts in this process has gradually increased. We have now a situation where social and psychological theories of human thought and action have taken the place of this thought and action itself. Instead of asking the people involved in a problematic situation, developers, educators, tech nologists and sociologists get their information about 'what these people really want and need' from theoretical studies carried out by their esteemed colleagues in what they think are the relevant fields. Not live human beings, but abstract models are consulted; not the target population decides, but the producers of the models. Intellectuals all over the world take it for granted that their models will be more intelligent, make better suggestions, have a better grasp of the reality ofhumans than these humans themselves. What has this situation got to do with me? From 1958 to 1 990 I was a Professor of Philosophy at the University of California in Berkeley. My function was to carry out the educational policies of the State of California which means I had to teach people what a small group of white intellectuals had decided was knowledge. I hardly ever thought about this function and I would not have taken it very seriously had I been informed. I told the students what I had learned, I arranged the material in a way that seemed plausible and interesting to me - and that was all I did. Of course, I had also some 'ideas of my own' - but these ideas moved in a fairly narrow domain (though some ofmy friends said even then that I was going batty). In the years around 1 964 Mexicans, blacks, Indians entered the university as a result of new educational policies. There they sat, partly curious, partly disdainful, partly simply confused hoping to get an 'education'. What an opportunity for a prophet in search of a following! What an opportunity, my rationalist friends told me, to contribute to the spreading of reason and the improvement of mankind ! What a marvellous opportunity for a new wave of enlightenment! I felt very differently. For it now dawned on me that
the intricate arguments and the wonderful stories I had so far told to my more or less sophisticated audience might just be dreams, reflections of the conceit of a small group who had succeeded in enslaving everyone else with their ideas. Who was I to tell these people what and how to think? I did not know their problems though I knew they had many. I was not familiar with their interests, their feelings, their fears though I knew that they were eager to learn. Were the arid sophistications which philosophers had managed to accumulate over the ages and which liberals had surrounded with schmaltzy phrases to make them palatable the right thing to offer to people who had been robbed of their land, their culture, their dignity and who were now supposed first to absorb and then to repeat the anaemic ideas of the mouthpieces of their oh so human captors? They wanted to know, they wanted to learn, they wanted to understand the strange world around them - did they not deserve better nourishment? Their ancestors had developed cultures of their own, colourful languages, harmonious views of the relation between people, and between people and nature whose remnants are a living criticism of the tendencies of separation, analysis, self-centredness inherent in Western thought. These cultures have important achievements in what is today called sociology, psychology, medicine, they express ideals of life and possibilities of human existence. Yet they were never examined with the respea they deserved except by a small number of outsiders; they were ridiculed and replaced as a matter of course first by the religion of brotherly love and then by the religion of science or else they were defused by a variety of'interpretations'. Now there was much talk ofliberation, of racial equality - but what did it mean? Did it mean the equality of these traditions and the traditions of the white man? It did not. Equality meant that the members of different races and cultures now had the wonderful chance to participate in the white man's manias, they had the chance to participate in his science, his technology, his medicine, his politics. These were the thoughts that went through my head as I looked at my audience and they made me recoil in revulsion and terror from the task I was supposed to perform. For the task - this now became clear to me - was that of a very refined, very sophisticated slavedriver. And a slavedriver I did not want to be. Experiences such as these convinced me that intellectual procedures which approach a problem through concepts are on the wrong track and I became interested in the reasons for the tremendous power this error has now over minds. I started examining the rise of intellectualism in Ancient Greece and the causes that brought it about. I wanted to know what it is that makes people who
have a rich and complex culture fall for dry abstractions and multilate their traditions, their thought, their language so that they can accommodate the abstractions. I wanted to know how intellectuals manage to get away with murder - for it is murder, murder of minds and cultures that is committed year in year out at schools, universities, educational missions in foreign countries. The trend must be reversed, I thought, we must start learning from those we have enslaved for they have much to offer and, at any rate, they have the right to live as they see fit even if they are not as pushy about their rights and their views as their Western conquerors have always been. In 1 964-5 when these ideas first occurred to me I tried to find an intel/eaual solution to my misgivings, that is, I took it for granted that it was up to me and the likes of me to devise educational policies for other people. I envisaged a new kind of education that would live from a rich reservoir of different points of view permitting the choice of traditions most advantageous to the individual. The teacher's task would consist in facilitating the choice, not in replacing it by some 'truth' of his own. Such a reservoir, I thought, would have much in common with a theatre of ideas as imagined by Piscator and Brecht and it would lead to the development of a great variety of means of presentation. The 'objective' scientific account would be one way of presenting a case, a play another way (remember that for Aristotle tragedy is 'more philosophical' than history because it reveals the struaure of the historical process and not only its accidental details), a novel still another way. Why should knowledge be shown in the garment of academic prose and reasoning? Had not Plato observed that written sentences in a book are but transitory stages of a complex process of growth that contains gestures, jokes, asides, emotions and had he not tried to catch this process by means of the dialogue? And were there not different forms of knowledge, some much more detailed and realistic than what arose as 'rationalism' in the 7th and 6th century in Greece? Then there was Dadaism. I had studied Dadaism after the Second World War. What attracted me to this movement was the style its inventors used when not engaged in Dadaistic activities. It was clear, luminous, simple without being banal, precise without being narrow; it was a style adapted to the expression of thought as well as of emotion. I connected this style with the Dadaistic exercises themselves. Assume you tear language apart, you live for days and weeks in a world of cacophonic sounds, j umbled words, nonsensical events. Then, after this preparation, you sit down and write : 'the cat is on the mat'. This simple sentence which we usually utter without thought, like talking machines (and much of our talk is indeed routine), now seems like the creation of an
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entire world: God said let there be light, and there was light. Nobody in modem times has understood the miracle oflanguage and thought as well as the Dadaists for nobody has been able to imagine, let alone create, a world in which they play no role. Having discovered the nature of a living order, of a reason that is not merely mechanical, the Dadaists soon noticed the deterioration of such an order into routine . They diagnosed the deterioration oflanguage that preceded the First World War and created the mentality that made it possible. After the diagnosis their exercises assumed another, more sinister meaning. They revealed the frightening similarity between the language of the foremost commercial travellers in 'importance', the language of philosophers, politicians, theologians, and brute inarticulation. The praise of honour, patriotism, truth, rationality, honesty that fills our schools, pulpits, political meetings imperceptibly merges into inarticula tion no matter how much it has been wrapped into literary language and no matter how hard its authors try to copy the style of the classics, and the authors themselves are in the end hardly distinguishable from a pack of grunting pigs. Is there a way to prevent such deterioration? I thought there was. I thought that regarding all achievements as transitory, restricted and personal and every truth as created by our love for it and not as 'found' would prevent the deterioration of once promising fairy-tales and I also thought that it was necessary to develop a new philosophy or a new religion to give substance to this unsystematic conjecture . I now realize that these considerations were just another example of intellectualistic conceit and folly. It is conceited to assume that one has solutions for people whose lives one does not share and whose problems one does not know. It is foolish to assume that such an exercise in distant humanitarianism will have effects pleasing to the people concerned. From the very beginning of Western Rationalism intellectuals have regarded themselves as teachers, the world as a school and 'people' as obedient pupils. In Plato this is very clear. The same phenomenon occurs among Christians, Rationalists, Fascists, Marxists. Marxists did not try to learn from those they wanted to liberate; they attacked each other about interpretations, viewpoints, evidence and took it for granted that the resulting intellectual hash would make fine food for the natives (Bakunin was aware of the doctrinarian tendencies of contemporary Marxism and he intended to return all power - power over ideas included - to the people immediately concerned). My own view differed from those just mentioned but it was still a view, an abstract fancy I had invented and now tried to sell without having shared even an ounce of the lives of
the receivers. This I now regard as insufferable conceit. So - what remains? Two things remain. I could follow my own advice to address and try to influence only those people whom I think I understand on a personal basis. This includes some of my friends; it may include philosophers I have not met but who seem to be interested in similar problems and who are not too upset by my style and my general approach. It may also include people from different cultures who are attracted, even fascinated by Western science and Western intellectual life, who have started participating in it but who still remember, in thought as well as in feeling the life of the culture they left behind. My account might lessen the emotional tension they are liable to feel and make them see a way of uniting, rather than opposing to each other, the various stages of their lives. Another possibility is a change of subject. I started my career as a student of acting, theatre production and singing at the Institute for the Methodological Reformation of the German Theatre in the German Democratic Republic. This appealed to my intellectualism and my dramatic propensities. My intellectualism told me that problems had to be solved by thought. My dramatic propensities made me think that hamming it up was better than going through an abstract argument. There is of course no conflict here for argument without illustration leads away from the human elements which affect the most abstract problems. The arts, as I see them today, are not a domain separated from abstract thought, but complementary to it and needed to fully realize its potential. Examining this function of the arts and trying to establish a mode of research that unites their power with that of science and religion seems to be a fascinating enterprise and one to which I might devote a year (or two, or three . . . ).
Postscript on Relativism
In a critical notice of my book Farewell to Reason Andrew Lugg suggests 'that Feyerabend and likeminded social critics should treat relativism with the disdain that they normally reserve for rational ism' . 1 This I have now done, in Three Dialogues of Knowledge, 2 where I say that relativism gives an excellent account of the relation between dogmatic world-views but is only a first step towards an understanding of live traditions, and in Beyond Reason: Essays on the Philosophy ofPaul K Feyerabend, where I write that 'relativism is as much of a chimaera as absolutism [the idea that there exists an objective truth], its cantankerous twin'. 3 In the same book I call my earlier advice to keep hands off traditions an 'idiocy'. 4 In both cases I raise objections against relativism, indicate why I changed my mind. and mention some of the remaining difficulties. Andrew Lugg adds that my 'commitment to relativism as a general theory (or principled outlook) is considerably less than total and [that I] can plausibly be read as arguing that the trouble with traditional versions of relativism is that they are pitched at too high a level of 5 abstraction'. This is certainly true of what I say in Farewell - but anticipations (which I notice only now, as a result of Lugg's comments) occur already in Science in a Free Society. 6 There I distinguish between participants and external observers of traditions, describe objectivism as an illusion created by the special position of the former and summarize my arguments in a series of theses, all of them printed in italics. Thesis i reads: Traditions are neither good nor bad, they simply are. Thesis ii: A tradition assumes desirable or I . Ctm. Journal ofPhilosophy, Vol. 2 1 , 1 99 1 , p. 1 1 6 - received 1 989. 2. Oxford, 1 99 1 , pp. 1 5 1 ff. (MS finished 1 989/90.) 3. Dodrecht, 1 99 1 , p. 5 1 5. (MS finished 1 989.) 4. ibid., p. 509. 5. loc. cit. 6. London, 1 978, part 1, section 2, pp. 27fT- reprinted without change in Chapter 17 ofthe second edition ofAgainst Mtthod, London, 1 988, and with added comment in Chapter 17, pp. 225fT of the present edition.
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undesirable properties only when compared with some tradition, i.e. only when viewed by participants who see the world in terms of their own values. And so on. This sounds like Protagoras, and I say so, in thesis iii. However, I then describe (theses v and vi) how traditions interact. I discuss two possibilities, a guided exchange and an open exchange. A guided exchange adopts 'a well-specified tradition and accept[s] only those responses that correspond to its standards. If one party has not yet become a participant . . . he will be badgered, persuaded, 'educated' until he does - and then the exchange begins.' 'A rational debate', I continue, 'is a special case of a guided exchange. ' In the case o f an open exchange 'the participants get immersed into each other's ways of thinking, feeling, perceiving to such an extent that their ideas, perceptions, world-views may be entirely changed they become different people participating in a new and different tradition. An open exchange respects the partner whether he is an individual or an entire culture, while a rational exchange promises respect only within the framework of a rational debate. An open exchange has no organon though it may invent one; there is no logic though new forms of logic may emerge in its course . ' In sum, an open exchange is part of an as yet unspecified and unspecifiable practice. These comments imply, first, that traditions are rarely well defined (open exchanges are going on all the time) and, secondly, that their interactions cannot be understood in general terms. Keeping traditions alive in the face of external influences we act in an only partly conscious way. We can describe results after they have occurred, we cannot incorporate them into a lasting theoretical structure (such as relativism) . In other words, there cannot be any theory of knowledge (except as part of a special and fairly stable tradition), there can at most be a (rather incomplete) history of the ways in which knowledge has changed in the past. In my next book I shall discuss some episodes of such a history. In the meantime I have started using the term 'relativism' again, but in a new sense. In the second edition of the present book I explained this sense by saying that 'Scientists [and, for that matter, all 7 members of relatively uniform cultures] are sculptors of reality.' That sounds like the strong programme of the sociology of science except that sculptors are restricted by the properties of the material they use . Similarly individuals, professional groups, cultures can create a wide variety of surroundings, or 'realities' - but not all 7. op. cit., p. 270. Cf. also the more detailed account in 'Realism and the Historicity of Knowledge',Journa/ ofPhilosophy, 1 989.
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approaches succeed: some cultures thrive, others linger for a while and then decay. Even an 'objective' enterprise like science which apparently reveals Nature As She Is In Herself intervenes, eliminates, enlarges, produces and codifies the results in a severely standardized way - but again there is no guarantee that the results will congeal into a unified world. Thus all we apprehend when experimenting, or interfering in less systematic ways, or simply living as part of a well-developed culture is how what surrounds us responds to our actions (thoughts, observations, etc.); we do not apprehend these surroundings themselves: Culture and Nature (or Being, to use a more general term) are always entangled in a fashion that can be explored only by entering into further and even more complicated entanglements. Now, considering that scientists use different and often contradic tory methods of research (I describe some of them in Chapter 1 9 of the present edition), that most of these methods are successful and that numerous non-scientific ways of life not only survived but protected and enriched their inhabitants we have to conclude that Being responds differently, and positively, to many different approaches. Being is like a person who shows a friendly face to a friendly visitor, becomes angry at an angry gesture, remains unmoved by a bore without giving any hint as to the principles that make Him (Her? It? Them?) act the way they do in the different circumstances. What we find when living, experimenting, doing research is therefore not a single scenario called 'the world' or 'being' or 'reality' but a variety of responses, each of them constituting a special (and not always well-defined) reality for those who have called it forth. This is relativism because the type of reality encountered depends on the approach taken. However, it differs from the philosophical doctrine by admitting failure : not every approach succeeds. In my reply to 8 critics I called this form of relativism 'cosmological' relativism, in 9 an article published in lride I spoke of an 'ontological' relativism, in 10 'Nature as a Work of Art' I argued that the world of modern science (and not only the description of this world) is an artwork constructed by generations of artisan/scientists while in 'Realism 11 and the Historicity of Knowledge' I indicated how such views are related to the ideas of Niels Bohr. In the last article I also mentioned
8. In Gonzalo Munevar (ed.), Beyond Reason, Dodrecht-Boston-London, 1 99 1 , p. 570. 9. No. 8, n.s.,Jan.-Apr. 1992. 10. Common Knowledge, Vol. I, No. 3, 1993. I I . op . cit., footnote 7 above.
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that ontological relativism might be similar to Thomas Kuhn's more recent philosophy. Having before me a copy of Kuhn's Robert and Maurine Rothschild Distinguished Lecture of 1 9 November 1 99 1 I can now describe the similarities and the differences in greater detail. We both oppose the strong programme in the sociology of science. As a matter of fact I would say, exactly as Kuhn does, that 'the claims of the strong programme' are 'absurd: an example of deconstruction gone mad'. I also agree that it is not enough to undermine the authority of the sciences by historical arguments: why should the authority of history be greater than that of, say, physics? All we can show historically is that a general appeal to scientific authority runs into contradictions. That undermines any such appeal; however, it does not tell us how science should now be interpreted or used. (Such questions, I would say, have to be answered by the interested parties themselves, according to their standards, conceptions, cultural commitments.) Kuhn says that 'the difficulties that have seemed to undermine the authority of science should not be simply seen as observed facts about its practice . Rather they are necessary characteristics of any developmental or evolutionary process.' But how do we know that science is an evolutionary process rather than a static way of finding more facts and better laws? Either from 'observed facts about its practice ' or from interpretations that are imposed from the outside . In the first case we are back at the situation Kuhn wants to overcome while the second case means that science is being incorporated into a wider (cultural) context - a context that values developments - and is interpreted accordingly (the procedure I mentioned in parentheses above) . It seems that is what Kuhn really wants, i.e. he wants to settle the question philosophically, not by appealing to facts. I would agree if I knew that for him this is one way among many and not the only possible procedure . Summarizing his argument Kuhn makes three assertions. 'First, the Archimedian platform, outside history, outside oftime and space, is gone beyond recall.' Yes, and no. It is gone as a structure that can be described and yet shown to be independent ofany description. It is not gone as an unknown background of our existence which affects us but in a way which forever hides its essence. Nor is Archimedianism gone as a possible approach. It would be the politically correct approach in a theocracy, for example. Secondly, Kuhn says that in the absence of an Archimedian platform 'comparative evaluation is all there is'. That is of course true - and trivially so. Thirdly, he challenges the traditional notion oftruth
A G A I N S T M E T H OD
as correspondence to reality. 'I am not suggesting, let me emphasize, that there is a reality which science fails to get at. My point is, rather, that no sense can be made of the notion of a reality as it has ordinarily functioned in the philosophy of science.' Here I agree with the proviso that more metaphysical notions of reality (such as those proposed by Pseudo Dionysius Areopagita) have not yet been disposed of. Let me repeat that the cultures that call forth a certain reality and these realities themselves are never well defined. Cultures change, they interact with other cultures and the indefiniteness resulting therefrom is reflected in their worlds. This is what makes intercultural understanding and scientific change possible : poten tially every culture is all cultures. We can of course imagine a world where cultures are well defined and strictly separated and where scientific terms have finally been nailed down. In such a world only miracles or revelation could reform our cosmology.
Alberti, Leon Battista 242 7 1 -3, 1 05 anarchism 49 anything goes 1 4, 23 1 epistemological 9 methodology and 9-10, 1 2-13, 1 9, 262 naive 47-9, 23 1 political 1 2- 1 3 Anaximander 95, 1 85 Anscombe, Elizabeth 259-60 anthropology 1 88-90, 1 97 case study of quantum tribe 1 90- 1 anything goes see anarchism appearances 1 95n, 1 97-8, 203 see also natural interpretations argument emotions and 1 6- 1 7 incommensurability and 1 50 value of 1 5- 1 7, 64 see also anarchism; incommensurability Aristotle Copernican theory and 72-3, 79 cosmology 44, 1 09- 1 2, 1 35, 1 4 1 , 233-4 dynamics and motion 34n, 1 2 1 , 1 35 intuitive view ofhumans 1 24 knowledge & perception 89 Arp, Halton 242, 245 art archaic style and perception 1 69- 1 86
perspective 1 85n, 1 87, 1 99-20 1 , 203, 2 1 5 11zeAssayer (Galileo) 39-40n, 80 astronomy ancient 36n, 1 35, 1 36 Ptolemaic 1 3 5-6 mediaeval 1 35, 1 36 see also Copernicus; Galileo; Newton; telescope auxiliary sciences 5 1-2, 1 1 0, 1 1 3- 1 4 Bacon, Francis 32n, 60, 1 1 2- 1 3n, 1 1 7- 1 8 Barrow, Isaac 45-6 Bohm, David 262 Bohr, Niels 1 5n, 3 1-2, 40 Boltzmann, Ludwig 46 Brahe, Tycho 55, 1 35 , 1 42 Brecht, Bertolt 9, 259 Brownian motion (Dr Robert Brown) 27-8, 28n, 262n Bruno, Giordano 1 27 Burbidge, C. 241 Camap, Rudolph 1 1 9 Chambers, Robert 240 children development of 1 5- 1 7 perceptual stages 1 50, 1 6 7-8 Chalmers, Alan 76n China medicine 36-7 Church & Christianity 248 accepts proven science 1 32-3 attitudes 1 25-6, 1 30-1 Galileo and 1 24, 1 25-34
I N DEX
clashing with accepted theories see counterinduction classical mechanics �7, 72-3, 1 13 classifications 1 64-6 common sense Copernicanism and 1 03-4, 1 1 0, 1 1 2- 1 3 see also natural interpretations; observation communication guided vs open 45-6, 229 concepts archaic/paratactic 1 70-6, 1 77-85, 1 99-203, 2 1 8- 1 9 changes of 1 55 integral nature of � 1 , 205 totalitarianism of 1 65-9, 1 99-207 see also ideas; counterinduction; natural interpretations consistency condition 24-7, 28-30, 50, 234-5 Copernicus, Nicholas acceptance of 96, 1 45-6 defies evidence 1 7, 35, 39-40, 5 1 , 60, 6 1 effect of'Revolution' 1 35-6 Galileo's defence of 72, 77 methodology 1 3 8-42 symbol of progress 1 1 6-2 1 theory detached from experience 1 03-4, 1 1 0, 1 1 2- 1 3 see also Galilei, Galileo cosmology 238, 24 1 , 242 archaic 1 84-6, 1 88, 1 98-9, 239 Aristotle and 44, 1 09- 1 2, 1 35, 141 cultural perceptions and 1 75-6 fmite 233-4 need for re-evaluation 1 1 3-1 5 , 1 20 see also astronomy; concepts counterinduction Copernican theory and 5 1-3, 77-80 tool for research 20-3, 61-4
crisis, theory of 145-6 critical rationalism 1 47, 1 5 1-8 see also Popper, Karl; rationalism culture 3-4 Dadaism 265-6 Descartes, Rene 54
Discourseon Method 49n dialectic 1 8 Diogenes ofSinope 62 discovery 1-2, �7, 1 06, 1 1 7 seealso science; theories of science Duhem, Pierre 24 education 263-5 science 2, 1 1- 1 2, 1 6 1-2 Ehrenhaft, Felix 28, 47 Einstein, Albert Brownian motion and 28 methodology 1 0-1 1 , 42-3n, 1 3 8n, l 63, 239 theory 1 8, 44, 1 07, 242 electrodynamics 47 empiricism 1 8, 20, 29, 72, 1 09-10, 1 1 7- 1 8, 1 47 Aristotle and 1 09- 1 0 autonomy principle 29 epistemological illusion 73 epistemology 9, 1 1 , 1 2, 1 36 illusions 73, 1 38, 1 56 prejudices 1 96-7 essentialism see paratactic aggregates evaluation of theories see methodology Evans-Pritchard, E.E. 1 89 events, effects on science 1 6-1 7 , 1 38 experience see natural interpretations; observation experiments see empiricism; facts facts autonomy principle 26-7 collection & discovery 77, 144-5 selection & suppression 20-1 , 50-1 , 1 5 5
I N D EX theoretical nature 1 1 , 22, 39-40, 63 see also counterinduction; empiricism; natural interpretations fairy-tales see myths & fairy-tales faith see religion falsification 23, 1 45, 1 54, 22 1 science suffocated by 50-1 , 1 54 see also critical rationalism; Popper, Karl Favaro, Antonio 1 27 Feigl, Herbert 1 47-8, 2 1 2 Feller, Margaret 242, 245-6 Frank, Philipp 257 formalism see logic freedom 1 7, 228-9 Galilei, Galileo 1 7- 1 8, 39-40, 49, 54, 1 23 TheAssayer 39-40n, 80 boat argument 65-7 counterinduction and 77-80 dynamics & mechanics 24-5 moon and 9 1-9 propaganda 65 , 70-3, 76n, 1 04-5 , 1 1 8 Sider� Nuncius 8 1-2 telescope and optics 8 1-5 , 88-90, 99-102 tower argument 54-60, 68, 74-6, 1 07 trials of 1 25-34 see also Church; Copernicus, Nicholas Giedymin,J. 1 92-3 Gottsched,johann 2 1 9 government and science 1 63 grammar see language & linguistics Greeks, ancient 264-5 art & culture shape views 1 70-4, 1 77-87, 1 98-202 astronomy & cosmology 36n, 1 84-7, 1 97-202 see also Aristotle; Plato; Parmenides
Hanson, N.R. 2 1 2 Hanfmann, G.M.S. 1 75 Heraclitus 95, 203-4 hermetic writings 35, 1 4 1 Hesse, Mary 34-6 history conceptual changes 1 72, 20 1 education of science 1 1 - 1 2 evaluation o ftheories 1-2, 32, 33-7, 1 07-8, 2 1 2 events of, effects on science 1 6- 1 7 materialism 259 methodology 9-1 0, 5 1-3, 1 47-8 traditions 225-6, 228 world views 243-5 Hollitscher, Walter 257-9 Homer 1 77-82, 203, 204 humanitarianism 3-4, 1 62, 228 Hubble, E.P. 239 Hume, David 50 hypnagogic hallucination 1 82n hypotheses 1 06 adhoc 1 4-1 5 , 44, 49, 75 contradictory 1 4- 1 5 , 20-3 see also ideas; theories idealism 222-3, 230- 1 ideas and action 1 7, 1 49, 2 1 6, 232 comparison to other ideas 2 1 see also concepts; hypotheses ideology 1 7- 1 8, 62, 1 84 Iliad (Homer) 1 77-82, 203, 204 incommensurability 1 50, 1 65, 1 90 author's arrival at thesis 2 1 1 - 1 3 , 262-3 suspension of universals 205-7 inconsistency see consistency theory; facts individual, development of 1 2 see also freedom; humanitarianism inductive logic see logic instruments 1 7, 1 1 0, 232 see also telescope intuition 1 1 , 1 50 irrationalism 1 58, 204
I N DE X
Japan 250 justification 14 7-9 Kant, Immanuel 5 1 , 55-6, 56n Kaufmann, W. 40 Kepler,Johann 24, 94n, 242 Optics 45, 82, 88, 9 1 n, 98n, 99- 1 00 polyopia of 88n Kierkegaard, Seren 1 7, 1 54 knowledge 2 1 'America of 2 1 6 enumeration vs understanding 1 84-6 see also epistemology Kraft Circle 254-5 Kropotkin, Peter A. 1 3 Kuhn, Thomas 3 1 , 2 1 1 , 2 1 2- 1 3 Lagella,Julius Caesar 84 Lakatos, Imre 34n, 1 58n, 1 62-3 language & linguistics classification 1 64-5 deterioration of 266 effect of 1 64, 1 72, 1 99 invention of scientific 1 1 , 1 8, 63-4, 7 1 , 1 50, 1 93-4 observation 57, 59, 64, 7 1 , 1 1 2 philosophy 206-7, 220 relativity principle 208-9 translating ideas & concepts 1 88-9, 206-7, 209- 1 0 law & order see under methodology learning see education Lessing, Gotthold 2 1 9-20 Lenin, Vladimir I. 9n, 1 0 liberty see freedom linguistics see language & linguistics Loewy, Emmanuel 1 70- 1 logic anthropology and 1 90-4 contradiction of 1 5n, 1 94-6 falsification 50-1 inductive 1 5, 1 52 limits speculation 1 1 , 1 06, 1 92, 1 95 Lorentz, Hendrik 46-7
Lorenz, Konrad 1 3 1 n, 245 Luria, S.E. 238-9, 242 Lysenko, Tromfim D. 37, 1 60 McMullin, Eman 68-9n, 91 n Maestlin, Michael 1 3 5-6, 1 42-4 Marx, Karl, & Marxism 1 07n mathematics 50, 1 36, 1 95 Maxwell,) ames Clerk 46, 24 1 Medawar, Peter 1 3 1 n medicine 36-8, 249 Melanchthon, Philip 1 3 5 mental sets 1 99, 202 Merz,johann T. 243-4 metaphysics, science as 76, 78, 1 1 4, 1 2 1 , 1 54, 245 methodology as the activity of science 239-42 anarchistic 9-10, 1 2-13, 1 9, 23 1 counterinduction 20-3, 5 1-3, 6 1 -4 critical rationalism 14 7, 1 5 1-8 empiricism 1 8, 20, 29, 72, 1 09-10, 1 1 7- 1 8 falsification 23 , 50- 1 , 1 45, 1 55 law & order 1 3 , 1 9 logic and I On, 1 1 , 1 5n, 1 06, 1 52, 1 90-7, 22 1 patience needed with status quo 1 1 4- 1 5 pluralistic 20-3, 2 8 , 3 2 , 3 3 , 1 08 preconceptions in 1-2, 50-3 problems of 1 87-97 rational 1 2- 1 3 , 1 7, 1 47 scientific progress and 1 4- 1 9, 1 57-8 see also hypotheses; rationalism; science; theories of science Mill,John Stuart 1 1 9, 1 94 describes acceptance of theories 29-30, 3 1 On Liberty 34n, 38 mind/body problem 64, 1 23-4 model theory see theories of science morality 1 6, 253 see also humanitarianism
INDEX motion Galileo and 55-60, 65-76, 1 20-1 perpetual 27-8, 28n relativity of 69-70n, 70-1 myth & fairy-tales 2 1 , 36n, 53 natural interpretations 22, 59, 60-5, 74 see abo observation naturalism 222-3, 23 1-2 Neumann,John von 49n Neurath, Otto 1 49 Newton, Isaac 35, 40, 1 68 acceptance of theory 24-5 optics 44-6 Nuer peoples 1 89-90 objectivity 2 1 7, 22 1-2, 225-6, 228 see aho facts; mental sets observation astronomical vs terrestrial 84-5, 86-92 Copernicus moves science from 1 03-5, 1 1 0, 1 1 2 historical changes 52 language 57, 59, 64, 7 1 , 1 1 2 natural interpretations 22, 59, 60-5, 74 sensory 56-7, 234 theories and 39, 1 49, 1 5 1 see aho methodology; perception; telescope Odyssey (Homer) 1 78 ontology 1 55, 1 75-6 Optics (Kepler) 45, 82, 88, 9 1 n, 98n, 99- 1 00 optics 24, 44-6, 1 37-8, 242 natural observation 86-7 telescope and 82, 86-98, 1 04-5 Oresme, Nicole 248 paratactic aggregates 1 69-75, 1 77-86, 1 99-202 Parmenides 43-4, 62, 204 participant vs observer 2 1 5-2 1 passion (Kierkegaardian) 1 7
perception 95, 1 08-9, 1 1 4, 1 52 ofarchaic cultures 1 69-7 5 conceptual framework and 1 64-8, 1 75-7 see aho natural interpretations; observation; perspective perpetual motion 27-8, 28n, 262n Perry, Commander �atthew 250 perspective 1 85n, 1 87, 1 99-200, 202-3 , 2 1 5, 242
(Wittgenstein) 26 1 philosophy of science 1-4, 9, 1 48, 1 5 1 , 1 54, 1 96-7 'pragmatic' 2 1 7- 1 8, 227-8 standards 233 see aho Bacon, Francis; Kuhn, Thomas; theories of science physics 47, 73, 1 1 3 see aho motion; optics Piaget,J ean 1 6 7 Plato 7 1 , 1 5 1 , 245 pluralism 20-3, 29, 32, 33 Plutarch 96, 98, 204-5n Popper, Sir Karl R. 34n, 42n, 14 7, 1 5 1-8 author's acquaintance with 260-1 Prandtl, L. 240 prejudice, recognition 22-3, 58 presuppositions 58 see aho facts: theoretical nature propaganda 16-1 7, 1 1 4 Galileo and 65 , 70-3, 76n, 1 04-5, 1 1 8 Protagoras 226 Pseudo Dionysius Apropagita 248 psychology see mental sets; perception Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus) 135, 1 3 7-40 public participation in science 2, 2 1 Pythagoreans 3 5 quantum theory 1 8, 44 case study of 1 90-1 Quine, Willard van Orman 2 1 2
I N DEX
rationalism 2, 62, 64, 1 1 4, 1 60- 1 , 246, 265 critical 1 47, 1 5 1-8 falsification 23, 50- 1 , 1 45, 1 54 'Law of Reason' 1 2- 1 3 nature of 1 5, 1 1 5- 1 6, 224-5 objectivity 2 1 7, 22 1-2, 225-6, 228 reconstruction 1 9 1 vs science 2 1 4-1 5 standards within 230 realism 1 4 1 -2, 1 44 naive 59-60, 70-1 reality assumptions 1 4 1-2 relativity Einstein's 1 8- 1 9, 40-1 , 48-9 Galileo's 73-4, 1 1 8 religion 1 1 , 53, 1 37, 2 1 8 co-existence with science seealso Church & Christianity research see facts; empiricism; methodology Sacrobosco,Johannes 1 36 Schwarzchild solution 48 science anarchism 9-10, 1 2- 1 3 , 1 4, 19 auxiliary 5 1 -2, 1 1 0, 1 1 3- 14 chauvinism in 2-4, 37 coherence vs subdivision 1 36-8, 1 44 conservativism in 1 1 , 1 06, 1 92 cultural influence 3-4 discovery & success 2-4, 46-7, 1 06, 1 1 6, 1 48 education and 2, 1 1- 1 2, 1 6 1-2 money and 37 standards 1 , 1 2, 1 6 1-3, 2 1 4, 227-8, 23 1 , 232-3, 238-42 world views 243-5 see also history; methodology; philosophy of science; theories of science senses see under natural interpretations; observation
Sidereus Nuncius (Galileo) 8 1-2 speculation see hypotheses; ideas;
metaphysics Stalin,Joseph 257 state see government status quo 1 1 4- 1 5
The Struaure ofScientific Revolutions
(Kuhn) 3 1 , 2 1 2- 1 3 Swiss cheese theory 262
technology 263 telescope celestial difficulties 86-91 Galileo and 8 1 -5, 1 20 senses and 93- 1 02, 1 03-4 terrestrial success 83-4 see also optics tests see empiricism; methodology Thales 1 85n theology see Church & Christianity; religion theories of science acceptance of 1 7- 1 8, 30-2, 63, 77 changing ofperceptions 20-3, 52-3, 1 23-4 consistency conditions 24-7, 28-30, 50, 234-5 historical view 1-2, 32, 33-7 incommensurability 1 50, 1 65, 1 90, 205-7, 2 1 1 - 1 3 justification 1 47-9 as metaphysics 76, 78, 1 1 4, 1 2 1 , 1 54 numerical disagreement 39-42 qualitative disagreement 39, 42-50 philosophical 1-4, 9, 3 1 , 1 48, 1 5 1 , 1 54, 1 96, 2 1 2- 1 3 . separation from observation 1 47 , 1 5 1-8 terminology 1 1 , 1 8, 63-4, 7 1 , 1 50, 202-3 world views 243-5 see also concepts; history; hypotheses; methodology; science
I N DEX tradition 225-6, 228 see also history translation 207 understanding see knowledge; perception USA, unfree society 229 value judgements 22 1 , 227 Voodoo and witchcraft 35-6, 78n Weizacker, C. F. von 262
White, Lynn 249 Whorf, Benjamin L. 1 64-5, 1 76, 209, 2 1 0 Wilson, E.O. 247-8 Wittgenstein, Ludwig 224, 260 Philosophical Irrvestigations 261 world views, abstract 243-5 Xenophanes 95 Zahar, Elie 1 5 7n Zeno 62